Humpback whale freed from fishing line off Dawesville

Humpback whale freed from fishing line off Dawesville

A nine metre humpback whale has been disentangled from fishing gear one nautical mile south of Dawesville.

A rope was wrapped around the whale’s tail stem and the end of its tail (fluke).

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development officers initially responded to the whale on Wednesday.

Parks and Wildlife officers from the vessel DK Coughran then attached a real-time satellite tracker to the whale.

Cam Craigie, from the Parks and Wildlife Service, said after tracking the whale for several hours, the disentanglement team was able to get close enough to safely cut the fishing gear away, allowing the whale to swim free.

“The ropes were wrapped twice around the whale’s peduncle area and required us to make two cuts to free the animal,” Mr Craigie said.

“It was a really challenging operation as we were dealing with a stressed animal that weighs thousands of kilograms, so it was important that human safety was considered first.

“The team was able to perform the operation using specialist equipment developed in Western Australia, so it was a great result and the best possible outcome for this whale.

“We monitored the whale after the disentanglement and while it was very tired, it was swimming strongly, and its prognosis is good.”

People who see an entangled or beached whale should keep a safe distance from the animal and contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.