NSRI Kommetjie, SAWDN disentangle young whale off Cape Point

The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) and NSRI Kommetjie worked for more than an hour today, 29 June,  to disentangle a young whale covered in rope from rock lobster traps at Cape Point.

The 10 meter juvenile humpback whale was entangled in rope and buoys anchored to rock lobster traps. There was rope around the left flipper, around the head, around the right flipper and around the tail and with three floatation buoys and in the Spring High Tide the tail was submerged.

A statement by SAWDN this afternoon said that  this morning SAWDN was activated to respond to the South West Reef, approximately 3 nautical miles off-shore of Cape Point.  Rock Lobster fisherman reported finding the entangled whale.

An NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft, Spirit Of Winelands, and an NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft, Nadine Gordimer, responded with NSRI crew who volunteer and are trained in SAWDN whale disentanglement. They were accompanied by a Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts volunteer member of SAWDN that commanded the operation.

On arrival an extensive disentanglement operation progressed using specialised disentanglement equipment, made particularly difficult in this case with the tail anchored to the lobster traps submerged under water.  All rope was eventually successfully removed from the whale.

SAWDN says usually in these cases the whales it has helped tend to linger for a while following an operation of this nature but in this case the whale, appearing to be healthy and with minimal injury, continued on its way confidently.

SAWDN commend the rock lobster fishermen for their speedy reaction in raising the alarm.

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