SA WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK (SAWDN):
This is an SA Whale Disentanglement Network Media Statement:
Mike Meyer, SAWDN Chairman, said:
During the morning of Thursday, 07th December, SAWDN (SA Whale Disentanglement Network) were alerted to reports from fishermen of a whale trapped in fishing rope and a floatation buoy off-shore of Lamberts Bay on the West Coast.
Members of SAWDN responded to Lamberts Bay, carrying our specialised cutting equipment, and we boarded an NSRI Lamberts Bay sea rescue craft at 15h30.
Following an extensive search the whale was found 1.5 nautical miles off-shore of Lamberts Bay anchored to the sea bed by a rock lobster rope.
The tail of 8 meter Humpback whale, in the Spring high tide, was deep under water and SAWDN members, using goggles to get a better visual under water, found 3 wraps of rope around the whales Caudal Peduncle, and excess rope floating around the whale, but deep under water.
Initially the whales tail was too deep under water to reach with our cutting equipment and we returned to shore to give the tide time to recede and returning an hour later, with an outgoing tide, attempts were made to cut rope free.
We extended our specialised cutting pole to its maximum length and in a difficult operation we were able to cut all wraps of rope free from the whale, including the anchored rope, and all rope and the floatation buoy were recovered for disposal.
The whale, appearing to be healthy and not injured, swam away and we are confident of the success of the operation.
The operation was completed at 19h00
The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was established in 2006 in order to manage entangled whales using specialised equipment and is comprised of trained volunteers from the – National Sea Rescue Institute, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Department of Environmental Affairs, Centre for Sustainable Oceans at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Nature, Mammal Research Institute, South African National Parks, South African Police Service, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, Cape Nature, Bayworld, various Boat Based Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving Operators, the Rock Lobster Industry and the Octopus Industry and fully supported by the Dolphin Action and Protection Group.
SAWDN COVERS THE ENTIRE SA COASTLINE
Whales assisted to date: 164
Released by: Craig Lambinon
Spokesperson – SOUTH AFRICAN WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK (SAWDN)
Cell: 082 380 3800