In this episode, we continue our celebration of the National Marine Sanctuaries’ 50 Years of ocean conservation and stewardship.

Our guest today on the Outdoor Adventure Series is Ed Lyman.

Ed is a Natural Resource Specialist, and Regional Large Whale Entanglement Response Coordinator at the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

For more than 25 years, Ed has worked with NOAA, state agencies, and others to understand the humpback whales better and to address the threats that impact them, especially ship strikes and entanglements.

Ed leads the sanctuary’s long-term health and risk assessment program that monitors the risks to and health of humpback whales within the sanctuary and nearby waters. He has participated in over 120 disentanglement efforts and helped free more than 70 large whales – more than 40 with the sanctuary.

Aha Moment

The value of the “team” or “network ” towards the response. Freeing a large whale of entangling gear is very challenging and can be dangerous. Having a group of people you can rely on for support, safety, and helping cut the whale free, makes a big difference. It is one of those “ahas” that has grown over the years, including the sanctuary Ohana, state and federal partner agencies, the community, and the core response teams I work with.


The ultimate goal of our overall large whale entanglement response efforts is garnering information so we can reduce the broad-based threat of entanglement. We have been doing this for decades (it was an aha moment a while back), but for me, I would like to put more emphasis on it as part of our “entanglement response efforts,” and I think the information we have been garnering now represents a large enough dataset to accomplish such a task. Using my doctor analogy, perhaps we cure disease instead of treating it.  Perhaps a future aha moment.

To learn more about the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

You can also follow the sanctuary on their Facebook page at

Next Steps 

To learn more about large whale entanglement response and what you can do if you come across an entangled large whale, here are links for various regions representing a first responder training course. The course will only take 20 minutes or so and will provide the roles/ steps for the best way to help the animal and stay safe.

Atlantic and Gulf Coasts

West Coast:



Click here to learn more about the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The Outdoor Adventure Series is a Podcast Production of Fox Coaching, Inc. 

The Outdoor Adventure Series Podcast is sponsored by our friends at Rock Creek Coffee Roasters, home of small-batch, freshly roasted coffee.

Click here to visit their website and online store.