Ian Klopper, SAWDN team leader, said:
At 16h31, Wednesday, 06th May, SAWDN (SA Whale Disentanglement Network) were activated following reports from a Scarborough resident of a whale appearing to be entangled in fishing rope and in distress off-shore of Scarborough.
NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft, Spirit of the Vines and IL Batello, accompanied by SAWDN volunteers and SAWDN specialised disentanglement equipment, launched from the Kommetjie slip-way and an NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft, Albie Matthews, accompanied by SAWDN volunteers and SAWDN specialised disentanglement equipment, launched from Hout Bay harbour.
NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft arrived on the scene finding 2 Southern Right whales, one appearing to be entangled in fishing rope and in distress.
The distressed whale submerged on the arrival of the sea rescue craft and on investigation it appears that the entanglement of fishing rope may have been released from the whale when it submerged after loose fishing rope was found in the vicinity.
The approaching NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft came across 2 Southern Right whales swimming freely and not appearing to be entangled in fishing rope and the whales fitted the description of the 2 whales that were originally sighted by the eye-witness and that were observed by the SAWDN and NSRI crew on the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft.
While SAWDN are cautiously optimistic that the whale freed itself from the entanglement SAWDN will continue to monitor, together with NSRI and authorities.
The Scarborough resident who observed the whale appearing to be entangled and in distress is commended for his participation in activating a rescue operation.
SAWDN COVERS THE ENTIRE SA COASTLINE
Whales assisted to date: 200
Spokesperson – SOUTH AFRICAN WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK (SAWDN)
Cell: 082 380 3800