Italian coast guard works to free sperm whale from fish net

Italian coast guard divers and biologists are working to free a sperm whale that was entangled in a fishing net near a tiny Mediterranean island

ROME -- Italian coast guard divers and biologists were working Sunday to free a sperm whale that was entangled in a fishing net near a tiny Mediterranean island.

The operation to free the sperm whale was particularly difficult “due to its state of agitation" that didn't allow for continual intervention near the whale, the coast guard said Sunday.

Three weeks ago, the Italian coast guard freed another sperm whale ensnared in a fishing net, also in the sea off the Aeolian Islands.

Since the start of the year, the coast guard has sequestered illegal fishing nets totaling more than a 100 kilometers (62 miles) in length.. The coast guard says it has stepped up its efforts this year to combat illegal fishing.