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Dead humpback whale washes ashore north of Ocean City

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. -- A dead humpback whale washed ashore north of Ocean City Saturday night.

Scientists with Cascadia Research said they had been monitoring the whale for a few days before it came ashore. At this point, they won't know exactly what killed it until a necropsy is conducted on the animal.

But research biologist John Calambokidis said he believes the whale was entangled.

Calambokidis said 2018 is shaping up to be a record year for entanglement cases with more than a dozen reported incidents thus far.

In May, a juvenile humpback whale also washed ashore at Ocean Shores. It was entangled in some crab pots, but it wasn't clear then if the entanglement happened before or after the whale's death.

It was one of five whales that had become entangled in the month of may -- two of them died.

Calambokidis said there are groups working in California, Oregon, and Washington to fix the problem and educate fishermen to come up with best practices to avoid harming the animals.

Beachgoer Ed Hartman said the whale smelled very bad on Sunday and that a line in the sand was drawn around the whale to warn people of potential combustion.