Whale freed from nets off Gold Coast
Rescuers have freed a baby whale from shark nets off the Gold Coast, after battling rough conditions for more than two hours.
It is believed the five- to six-metre whale became stuck off Burleigh Heads shortly before 6am.
Up to three adult whales stayed close by, while rescue teams worked frantically to free the animal.
The whale was freed shortly after 9.30am.
Jeff Krause from the state’s shark control program said the rescue team worked hard to ensure a clean release.
“What we don’t want to do is madly cut at the ropes, thinking we’re doing a good job, and then the whale is released with netting caught over its head or around its pectoral fin or something like that,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“The idea is to cut the ropes, the best ones, so we have a clean release.”
It is believed to be the sixth whale entanglement of the season.
All previous five entangled whales were freed alive.
The last whale to get stuck in Queensland nets was a five-metre male calf that became entangled off nearby Tallebudgera Beach on October 1.
Queensland’s fisheries department says about 18,000 whales are making their return journey south along the east coast of Australia, at the end of the migration season.
Last week a humpback whale calf died after becoming caught in a shark net off Sydney’s northern Mona Vale beach.
Alexia Wellbelove, senior program manager of Humane Society International, said: “For many years HSI has been seeking the removal of shark nets due to what we consider to be the unnecessary impacts these nets have on marine life, and with another young whale caught again this morning we believe it is time to remove these nets once and for all.
“Targeted shark control programs provide no real protection for humans, but are indiscriminate killers of our marine life.”
– with AAP and smh.com.au
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/whale-watch/whale-freed-from-nets-off-gold-coast-20131029-2wcxp.html#ixzz2jAGxegdB