KUCB KIAL Unalaska Community Broadcasting


Berett Wilber/KUCB


On a sunny Tuesday night, about a dozen people are gathered on a dock. They’re practicing the skills needed to free a stranded whale.

Ed Lyman is up from Hawaii to lead the course. He has a lot of experience freeing entangled whales. He’s in town for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — working to build Unalaska’s response team.

“Here we are in Dutch Harbor, fishermen galore, capital of fishing, in many ways in the U.S.,” Lyman said. “So you have a lot of skill sets there already. But having to cut free a 40 ton whale is unique.”

Melissa Good/Alaska Sea Grant

Unalaska has seen a lot of whale activity in recent years, with many pods passing through the bay and even a few entanglements. 

That's why Melissa Good wants to train more local people to respond to distressed whales.

"The Marine Mammal Stranding Network has been arranging funding to do a training out here," said Good, an agent for the Alaska Sea Grant program and a level one entangled whale responder. "I think it's highly likely that we'll either have a training next summer or the summer after."