Fruitless search for entangled whale near St Francis Bay

Early this morning off the St Francis Bay coastline a small whale was reported to have become entangled in a drogue parachute used to slow fishing trawlers. By the time the NSRI boat arrived on the scene the whale had managed to free itself.

NSRI St Francis Bay was activated at 7.04 am after reports about the whale were received from a squid fishing boat. Volunteers of the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN), aboard the NSRI St Francis Bay rescue craft, Spirit of St Francis II, found the parachute 11 kms offshore but it was empty.

It was suspected to have been a Southern Right whale and another whale seen nearby in the vicinity was thought to have been its mother. The parachute was brought ashore.

SAWDN is a specialised network of volunteers set-up in 2006 to deal with these types of situations and comprise volunteers – from NSRI, the Department Of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coast, SA National Parks, Cape Nature, The SAP, various South African aquariums, the Natal Sharks Board, Bayworld, other organisations and volunteers, plus with the support of the Dolphin Action and Protection Group (DAPG).

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