Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins and porpoises die every year as a result of being caught in fishing gear and nets but many survive horrific injuries only to live short and painful lives pulling nets around before slowly dying as a result.
Now research from scientists looking into the long term consequences of this kind of entanglement has revealed that whales can burn up twice as much energy whilst entangled. By using fishing gear removed from an entangled whale and then lowering it into the water behind a moving skiff, the researchers were able to estimate how much drag the fishing lines and buoys generated, and how much energy a whale would have to use up to pull the extra weight.
Find out more about the threat to whales and dolphins from fishing nets and gear.
The full report is available at Wiley Online Library