A whale has become stranded in shark nets off the Gold Coast, prompting Sea World and Department of Agriculture staff to race to its rescue.
It is understood locals initially spotted the whale at around 7am this morning and alerted authorities.
The whale likely became entangled in waters off Coolangatta and dragged the net towards Snapper Rocks, according to Sea Shepherd Australia.
Reports suggest a small crowd is watching the rescue from the shore and that other whales have been seen in the vicinity.
The department said in a statement this is the first time a whale has been entangled in shark nets on the Gold Coast this year.
"The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol’s Marine Animal Release Team (MART) is working to free a whale from shark control equipment off Coolangatta," a department spokesperson said.
"MART has the necessary equipment and training to undertake a safe release."
Anyone who sees a stranded animal should call the Shark Control Program hotline on 1800 806 891.
Why shark nets surround many Queensland beaches
Queensland authorities say shark nets are essential to protect human life.
Shark nets remain controversial in Queensland, with Humane Society International reporting last week that 139 marine animals had been caught in the nets over the last two months.
Sea Shepherd's Jonathan Clark argues the government should be using alternatives that do not harm whales.
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