Whale rescue attempt in South East

Tangled: DEW will today attempt to rescue a distressed whale, which is entangled in fishing gear off the South East coast.
Tangled: DEW will today attempt to rescue a distressed whale, which is entangled in fishing gear off the South East coast.

Specially trained marine disentanglement officers from the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) attempted to free a 9m humpback whale that became entangled in fishing gear off the South East coast this week.

DEW was notified on Wednesday by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) following reports from a commercial fisher that the juvenile whale had become entangled in ropes and floats near Port MacDonnell.

DEW spokesperson Deb Kelly said the whale was last seen Wednesday afternoon, appearing fatigued and heading east.

“DEW marine officers travelled to the region last night with special disentanglement gear and will be joined in the rescue attempt today by colleagues from the South East and PIRSA Fisheries officers,” Dr Kelly said.

“Commercial vessels in the area have been asked to report any further sightings of the whale, and if we are unable to locate the mammal we will consider using an aircraft to find it.

“With the whale likely to continue to weaken, there is a risk that it could beach itself, so we are hopeful we can find the mammal soon.

“The whale appears to be tangled tightly by ropes so it will be a difficult operation which may take a few hours once it is located.

“The weather is worsening tomorrow with stronger winds, so we are hopeful of a successful rescue mission today.”

UPDATE Friday: After an extensive search, the whale was unable to be located.