A joint operation between the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) and the NSRI has seen a seven-metre juvenile humpback whale freed from entanglement in fishing ropes off Cape Point.
SAWDN received a call of a whale in distress, entangled in fishing ropes and buoys suspected to be anchored to the sea bed.
Two rescue boats from the Simonstown station of the NSRI were dispatched with SAWDN volunteers on board along with cutting equipment to allow them to free the creature.
The boat that identified the whale remained on scene and the members of the public were commended for their actions which allowed the NSRI to easily locate the animal.
“This morning the South African Whale disentanglement network were alerted from a boat in the Miller’s Point area of a whale appearing to be entangled in fishing rope, buoys and flotation devices suspected to be anchored to the sea bed,”said SAWDN spokesperson Craig Lambinon.
“Aboard two NSRI rescue craft from Simonstown, members of SAWDN, responded to the scene. The boat that reported the incident remained on the scene and they are commended for their actions.
“On arrival on scene it was found to be a seven metre juvenile humpback whale, that was entrapped in fishing rope.”
According to SAWDN , juveniles are more likely to find themselves entangled in fishing gear, as they are more inquisitive. The humpback and southern right are most commonly found entangled.
“Using the specialized cutting equipment, the ropes entangled around the body and the fins were cut off with approximately ten to twelve cuts needed to successfully disentangle the whale.
“The debris from the fishing rope and buoys has been recovered and we are confident the whale has gone on its way,” Lambinon added.
Rescuers say that an adult whale remained in the vicinity, it is believed the whale was the mother of the young male. The two left the scene together.
“During the operation it appeared that a larger female, suspected to be the juvenile’s mother, remained on the scene and afterwards they swam off together. We are confident this was a successful operation,” Lambinon concluded.