Wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) with assistance from the Department of Fisheries and Busselton Sea Rescue have successfully disentangled a humpback whale off the Busselton coast.
The 8m to 9m juvenile whale was reported earlier today swimming 500m off Abbey Beach, with ropes wrapped near its tail. The whale was then seen in the vicinity of the Busselton jetty.
DEC senior marine operations officer John Edwards said the marine mammal rescue team was able to cut the material away from the whale, allowing it to swim free.
“The marine mammal rescue team, using a Department of Fisheries boat, responded quickly to the report and the team has achieved the best possible outcome for this whale,” he said.
"We attached floats to the whale to slow it down and tire it out before cutting the ropes that were wrapped three times around the whale’s peduncle area, using specialist cutting equipment.
“It was a delicate operation as we were dealing with an animal that weighs thousands of kilograms and was easily agitated, so it was important that human safety was addressed first.
“We monitored the whale after the disentanglement and it was swimming very strongly and looked to be in excellent condition, so it can now continue its migration north unhindered.”
People who see an entangled or beached whale should keep a safe distance from the animal and contact DEC’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.