The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) MEDIA RELEASE:
At 11h16, Sunday, 29th June, The South African Whale Disentanglement Network was activated to respond to the South West Reef, approximately 3 nautical miles off-shore of Cape Point, where Rock Lobster fisherman reported finding a 10 meter juvenile humpback whale entangled in rope and buoys anchored to rock lobster traps.
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 and accompanied by a Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts volunteer member of SAWDN who commanded the operation.
On arrival on-scene the whale was found to be entangled in rope anchored to rock lobster traps entangled with 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.
An extensive disentanglement operation progressed using the specialised disentanglement equipment, made particularly difficult in this case with the tail anchored to the lobster traps submerged under water, and in an operation lasting an hour and a half all rope appears to have been successfully removed from the whale.
Usually in these cases the whales we have 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.
The operation was completed at 16h53.
SAWDN commend the rock lobster fishermen for their speedy reaction in raising the alarm.
THE SOUTH AFRICAN WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK IS A VOLUNTEER NETWORK THAT BEGAN IN 2006 MADE UP OF VOLUNTEERS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT – OCEANS AND COASTS, NSRI, THE DOLPHIN ACTION AND PROTECTION GROUP, SA NATIONAL PARKS, THE SA POLICE SERVICES, RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS, THE NATAL SHARKS BOARD, TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARKS, WEST COAST WILDLIFE RESCUE AND VARIOUS MARINE AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS.