LATEST @ 9.00 AM | Rescue crews have managed to free a humpback whale that became entangled in shark nets off the southern Gold Coast.
The whale was spotted offshore from Kirra Beach around 6.30am on Friday, sparking the rescue operation.
Fisheries Queensland and Sea World Crews worked together to successfully free the mammal, who they say appeared to be quite calm despite the ordeal.
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It comes just three days after another humpback became caught in nets at Kirra.
It’s also the third entanglement in South East Queensland this week alone, and the fifth in Queensland this year.
It’s again ignited debate, with Sea Shepherd Shark Defence Campaigner Jonathan Clark calling for the nets to be removed.
“This year’s whale migration season has only just begun and already more whales have become entangled in these useless shark nets than in the entirety of 2021,” he said.
“These whales are yet to make the return trip to Antarctica where they will have to run this gauntlet again.
“It’s time for these cruel and deadly nets to come out now.”
Humane Society International has also backed calls to remove the nets during whale migration season.
“In a single week we’ve seen three whales entangled in shark nets because of the Queensland government’s stubborn refusal to remove them during the migration season,” Humane Society International’s marine biologist Lawrence Chlebeck said.
“Every entanglement is extremely traumatising and can have long-term impacts on whales even if they are successfully released.
“Queensland must heed the advice of its own scientists and pull these nets out for the entire duration of the migration season, each day the nets remain the government rolls the dice on the lives of more whales.”
The Department of Queensland and Fisheries has hit back, saying the “protection of human life is the first priority of Queensland’s Shark Control Program” and that they will not be removing the nets.
“But we are continually working on innovation and improvements to the program,” the spokesperson said.
“For example, the SCP is trialling catch alert drumlines and drones, and using the latest technology in electronic warning devices, such as acoustic pingers, to alert whales and dolphins of the presence of the nets.
“Changes to the program will not be made unless effective alternatives have been identified and proven suitable for Queensland conditions.”
EARLIER @ 8.00 AM | A rescue operation is currently underway to free a whale entangled in shark nets off the southern Gold Coast.
The whale was spotted caught in nets offshore from Kirra Beach on Friday morning.
Fisheries Queensland Shark Control Program Operations Coordinator Sam Fary said the entangled whale appeared to be calm and was breathing.
“We received a report at 6.30am of a whale being entangled at Kirra,” Mr Fary said.
“MART and Sea World are responding and will remove the net from the whale using specialised equipment.”
A Sea World spokesperson has also confirmed to myGC that crews are on their way.