Four humpback whales seen entangled in fishing gear near central Vancouver Island last week are still missing.

The latest update from the Marine Education & Research Society came on Aug. 2nd

MERS said one of the whales, named Checkmate, last seen entangled near Campbell River, has not been found. 

READ MORE: Crews work to remove fishing gear from entangled Humpback whales near Vancouver Island

The society says that it’s been reported: “that a member of the public removed rope at the surface.” 

“This was a terrible mistake,” the society said in the post. 

“The gear at the surface would have allowed ease of recognizing this whale as entangled and would have allowed (a) far better possibility of being able to remove the entangling gear below the surface.” 

The society went on to say that the prognosis for Checkmate “is very poor.” 

Meanwhile, the search continues for another whale named X-Ray that was last seen on July 26th dragging a line with a float near Campbell River.

It’s the same story for two other whales witnessed entangled in the same general area.

According to the society, its research in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) shows that roughly half the humpbacks off the coast of British Columbia have scarring that shows they have been entangled. 

“This provides an indication of how much the following are needed: boater education, resources for disentanglement, and understanding of how to reduce the threat,” the society said.

“But please know that entangled whales so often escape detection and most dead whales sink.”

The DFO says it hasn’t had any sightings of the whales and that it will be out on the water again today looking for them.