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Welcome to RABEN

Whale Disentanglement Network.

What is RABEN?

Interaction with fishing gear represents one of the most significant threats to whales worldwide. In Mexico, in order to address this crisis, Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas, AC (ECOBAC) created the Whale Disentanglement Network, known as RABEN, with support of CONANP (Mexico’s Park System)..  RABEN is an interagency team of people trained to perform rescues of whales entangled in fishing gear. RABEN network comprises 15 trained teams of disentanglement experts with 180 members along the Mexican Pacific Coast and Baja California Peninsula all equipped with specialized gear to assist in the rescue of entangled whales. Team members may vary accordingly to each region, but usually teams include personal from the Mexican Navy, Harbour Masters, API, Wildlife rangers (PROFEPA), FONMAR, whale watching tour operators, Universities and Non Profit Organizations. RABEN follows the International Whaling Comission (IWC) big whale disentanglement protocol and rescues are conduct from a boat (no rescues are done scuba diving or snorkeling).  This protocol has been tested for over 20 years and it guarantees the safety of staff and ensures minimal impact on the whales.

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How can I help an entangled whale?

  1. CALL the local authorities (Navy, Harbor Master, CONANP). If possible provide geographic location with GPS coordinates.  Please leave your NAME and MOBILE so we can contact you.
  2. DOCUMENT, if possible, take photos and video from a safe distance (no closer than 200ft.)
  3. STAY in the boat. Never get into the water to help a whale.
  4. WAIT for authorized RABEN personnel. Do not attempt to free the whale on your own. The removal of trailing lines or buoys diminishes the chances of freeing the animal of all gear, leaving lethal wraps behind.

Getting too close or swimming with whales can pose risks to humans and the whales and may alter the whale´s behavior. The Mexican whale watching regulations allow authorized vessels to approach whales no closer than 200ft (330ft for blue and fin whales). Vessels with no whale watching permits have to keep 800ft distance.

Do not get in the water or try to release an entangled whale, it´s very dangerous!

If you find an entangled whale report it to the local authorities (Navy, Harbor Master, CONANP).

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