In California, celebrities and conservationists gather at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival

The author manning the IFAW stand at the BLUE Oceans Film Fest in Monterrey.I am so excited to be at the BLUE Ocean film festival in Monterey, California with a great International Fund for Animal Welfare team.

BLUE features fantastic films and panels about ocean conservation to raise awareness of the critical threats to our oceans and marine species.

We are also excited to premiere a new public service announcement tomorrow with actress, model, activist, and IFAW Honorary Board Member, Amber Valletta.

This new PSA publicizes a toll-free number that anyone can call to report an entangled whale off the California coast. 

This PSA is the result of a terrific partnership with California Whale Entanglement Team (WET), a small but dedicated organization of volunteers, trained to professionally disentangle whales entangled in fishing gear or other marine debris.

IFAW partnered with California WET to develop “WET on Wheels” a state-of-the-art mobile trailer stocked with disentanglement tools that can transport the gear needed to rescue entangled whales in crisis. 

In working with California WET we learned that they and NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) sponsor and respond to a toll-free phone number in California to report entangled whales.  

IFAW and Amber Valletta wanted to help them promote this number and help get more whales disentangled.

Entangled whales can suffer and die by being entangled in fishing gear and removing it can save the life of the whale. Being able to recover the gear and even track it back to the source of the entanglement can help to prevent entanglements in the first place. 

IFAW has worked closely with fishermen and the fishing industry on developing and using whale-friendlier fishing gear, particularly near our headquarters on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and is interested in working with the industry to better protect whales. 

We take this common sense approach whenever possible on other threats to whales as well.

IFAW has recently done an assessment of the major threats to whales and what the US can do to mitigate them, and we are promoting those solutions among the policy makers, scientists and activists here at BLUE.  

So, as the whales swim off the Monterey coast. we share IFAW’s message with conservation advocates and the creative community, becoming even more inspired by these films and fascinating discussions about our oceans.

We are delighted to work with Amber Valletta and our amazing partners to help save California's whales.

-- BA

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation