Humpback whale entangled in fishing gear freed by Sea World Gold Coast rescue teams
Desperate Sea World rescue teams rescue humpback whale spotted dragging an object as it becomes entangled in nets off a popular Gold Coast beach
- Humpback whale entangled in fishing gear released by Sea World crews
- It took six hours to free the juvenile whale from the ropes and buoys on Monday
- A whale was seen swimming erratically in the waters off Coogee Beach on Sunday
- Despite minor tail injuries, the calf continued north on the migration path
A young humpback whale entangled in fishing gear was freed by rescue teams after a dramatic six-hour operation.
The humpback calf was intercepted by Sea World rescue teams off Broadbeach on Queensland’s Gold Coast around 10:30 am Monday.
The juvenile whale is believed to have become entangled in buoys and nets in the waters off the coast of New South Wales and dragged the ropes for several hundred miles to the Gold Coast.
Sea World Gold Coast posted a photo of the whale surrounded by emergency crews on its Facebook page and confirmed the young calf has been released.
It took Sea World rescue teams six hours to cut the buoys and nets of the juvenile whale, which could have become entangled in the ropes as far south as Tasmania.
“After a six-hour rescue operation, the Sea World Rescue team managed to cut buoys and nets from a subadult whale off the Gold Coast Seaway,” the post read.
“After the equipment was removed, the team monitored the whale and headed north on its migration path.”
Whale researchers have desperately stalked the whale for more than a week, after the calf was sighted off Crescent Head, about 40 km north of Port Macquarie, and off the coast at Coogee Beach in the eastern suburb of Sydney.
The juvenile humpback was seen swimming erratically on famous Sydney Beach at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
A spectator standing along the coast filmed the young whale dragging two white buoys across the surface of the water.
The humpback calf (pictured) was intercepted by Sea World rescue teams off Broadbeach on Queensland’s Gold Coast around 10:30 a.m. Monday.
Wayne Phillips, head of marine science for Sea World, said the spectacular rescue began on Friday at Evans Head, eight hours north of Sydney.
Mr Phillips said the calf could have become entangled in fishing ropes as far south as Tasmania.
He estimated the humpback whale was trapped in 200 meters of rope and six buoys on Friday, with rescue teams removing the rest of the equipment on Monday.
“Today was the third day for us to try to help him,” Phillips told the ABC.
“We were able to attach large buoys to the whale to help slow it down and allowed us to free the fishing debris.”
Up to 40,000 humpback whales are expected to start heading north along Australia’s east coast from now – migrating to the southern Whitsundays region where they mate and give birth
He said that although the whale was slightly injured by the ropes, it was still swimming strong.
“A lot of damage has been done to this area of the tail,” he said.
It is understood that the whale was swimming towards Clovelly in eastern Sydney before getting stuck in the net.
Humpback whales tend to move up the east coast of Australia during the migration season between May and November.
The number of species is thriving in Australian waters, with around 40,000 whales expected to head north to mate.
Their destinations are believed to be along the Great Barrier Reef, concentrated around the southern Whitsundays region.