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At 09h17, Wednesday, 6 October, SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) volunteers were activated following reports of a whale entangled in fishing rope off-shore of The Waves, Plettenberg Bay.

Jaco Kruger, SAWDN Plettenberg Bay coordinator, said:

Watch video: A young Humpback whale assisted in a disentanglement operation:

SAWDN volunteers launched aboard the NSRI Plettenberg Bay sea rescue craft Leonard Smith and on arrival on the scene a 7.5 meter sub-adult Humpback whale was found with fishing rope around the tail stock and trailing fishing gear.

In a difficult and delicate disentanglement operation 2 kegging lines, with floatation buoys, were attached and the whale, with freedom of movement, was trailed while efforts to cut the fishing line using specialised SAWDN cutting equipment commenced.

While the operation was underway an adult Humpback whale appeared and remained with the younger whale throughout the operation.

The entangled whale led the sea rescue craft across the Bay towards the Beacon Island Hotel and out to sea before returning to the Bay.

Multiple cuts were made to the thick fishing rope and eventually in a final cut the rope fell away from the whale and the rope and the fishing gear were recovered for disposal.

The 2 whales swam away and SAWDN are confident of the success of this disentanglement operation.

The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was established in 2006 in order to manage entangled whales using specialized equipment and is comprised of trained volunteers from the - National Sea Rescue Institute, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries, Centre for Sustainable Oceans at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Nature, Mammal Research Institute, South African National Parks, South African Police Service, 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.


Whales assisted to date: 209

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