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Seattle Times: Whales' fish-nabbing intrigues, frustrates

ANCHORAGE—Sperm whales have learned to pluck sablefish from fishing lines being hauled from the depths of the Gulf of Alaska, showing a dexterity that belies their enormous size and toothy, underslung jaws.

"They somehow just pick them off like grapes," said Sitka commercial fisherman Dick Curran, who has fished the gulf's deep waters for decades. "I don't know how they do it, and I don't know the depth. ... Sometimes you get the heads back, sometimes you just see lips, and sometimes they're just shredded."

No one knows how the whales have come to target sablefish, also called black cod, whose oily, rich flesh has become a lucrative product in Japanese markets. But a coalition of commercial fishermen and biologists has begun to investigate using about $200,000 from the North Pacific Research Board.

Why we don't expect this from a creature with a body that's "40 percent head" escapes me.

We arrogant humans assume nothing else on this planet could ever approach our sentience.

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