A HUMPBACK whale has been rescued from tangled fishing line near Montague Island.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) mobilised a whale disentanglement team and freed the adult humpback whale on Tuesday morning.
A commercial fisherman spotted the tangled whale off Montague Island in the morning and the whale disentanglement crew was immediately assembled.
Ranger Craig Dickman said a rubber duck with the specially trained crew sent out was able to spot the small whale off the island as it was trailing several ropes from his tail and tail flukes.
About to two to three metres behind the whale as a large pink-coloured rubber buoy as well as some Styrofoam.
The crew, who train for just this kind of entanglement, were able to cut free the whale using their long knives and the whale was able to swim free, disappearing into the depths immediately.
NPWS Area Manager Preston Cope praised fishermen for reporting the entangled whale promptly.
“This humpback had fishing line, rope and two floats attached to its tail fluke. On our first disentanglement effort our pole snapped and our cutting knife also broke,” Mr Cope said.
“NPWS Rangers and Marine Park Rangers worked together to attach additional floats to the whale, both to help us track it and to slow the animal down.
“At 12.40pm today, after three further attempts to cut it free, the whale was successfully disentangled and was last seen swimming northward.
“Whale disentanglement operations are dangerous both for people and entangled marine animals and specialist NPWS crews are trained for these situations.
“Please always dispose of ropes and fishing equipment thoughtfully and report any distressed marine mammals to NPWS on 1300 361 967 or to ORCCA, the voluntary Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia, on 9415 3333.”
To learn more about whale distance regulations, click here.
For the latest whale sightings, visit Wild About Whales.