Whale freed after getting caught in shark nets off the Gold Coast

UPDATE @ 1.00 PM | Rescue crews have managed to free a humpback whale that became entangled in shark nets off the southern Gold Coast.

The whale was spotted a few hundred metres offshore from Kirra Beach on Tuesday morning, 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 after another humpback whale was freed by crews after becoming entangled off Marcoola Beach on the Sunshine Coast earlier this morning.

The entanglements mark the third and fourth whales caught in Queensland shark nets in less than a month.

It’s again ignited debate about the need for shark nets in Queensland waters, especially during the whale migration season.

“Today, not one but two whales have been caught in Queensland’s cruel and outdated shark nets and once again, this entire situation could have been prevented,” Sea Shepherd Shark Defence Campaigner Jonathan Clark said.

“As over 20,000 of these much-loved ocean giants travel along the state’s coastline, the pointless shark ‘control’ program is endangering these and many other iconic creatures.

“The scientific advice for this program could not be clearer: get the nets out now.”

But a spokesperson for Fisheries Queensland has rejected calls to get rid of the nets.

“Protection of human life is the first priority of the Queensland’s Shark Control Program (SCP), but we are continually working on innovation and improvements to the program,” Fisheries Queensland 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 @ 11.45 AM | A rescue operation is currently underway to free a humpback whale entangled in shark nets off the southern Gold Coast.

The whale was spotted just a few hundred metres offshore from Kirra Beach on Tuesday morning.

Fisheries Queensland confirmed in a statement to myGC that they are currently working to free the mammal, with a Sea World rescue crew also on scene.

“The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol’s Marine Animal Release Team is working to free a whale entangled in shark control equipment off Kirra Beach,”  the statement said.

Shark Control Program Operations Coordinator Sam Fary said the entangled whale appeared to be calm and was breathing.

“MART and Sea World are working to remove the net from the whale using specialised equipment,” he said.

Rescue crews are also on the way to another reported entanglement of a whale at Marcoola Beach on the Sunshine Coast.