The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were notified of reports of a humpback whale entangled in fishing rope off the shore of Dassen Island in the Western Cape on Tuesday, December 14.
SAWDN teamed up with the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) Yzerfontein branch where they set sail on the sea rescue craft Rescue 34. The humpback whale was found entangled in fishing rope anchored to the seabed, as well as two floatation buoys. The whale had good movement and was able to surface for air, but appeared unsettled. Two wraps of rope were found wrapped around the tail, and two around its body.
SAWDN crew’s efforts included attaching two kegging buoys to the rope wraps to keep the whale as close to the sea surface as possible, but this aggravated the whale, resulting in the whale shrugging the buoys off.
Crew members then used specialised cutting equipment to systematically cut and remove the wrap of rope around the body, which freed the whale from entrapment to the seabed anchor.
The team quickly followed suit with the wrap around the tail, and the whale swam away appearing to be healthy and joined a large pod of whales further out to sea. All of the fishing rope, as well as the buoys, were recovered and disposed of.
Picture: Mike Doherty/Unsplash