Whale watchers are asked to keep a lookout for whales entangled in ropes and bouys.
Whale watchers are asked to keep a lookout for whales entangled in ropes and bouys. Tammie Jaeger

Three whales entangled in ropes need your help

WHALE watchers along the coast are being asked to keep a look out for three whales entangled in ropes and bouys.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has asked for the community's assistance in locating the whales, believed to be making their way up and down the coast.

NPWS spokesperson, Susan Crocetti, said people on any of the coastal headlands or on water craft and other vessels may come across these entangled whales and immediately reporting the whale's location and direction of travel improve their response and chance of successful disentanglement.

"A humpback calf was reported by a fisherman later yesterday afternoon as tangled just off Point Plomer north of Port Macquarie with up to five white buoys trailing behind it as it attempted to travel north.

"A bit further south an adult whale was seen off Forster with ropes wrapped around its body but no floats and off Crescent Head onshore observers spotted an adult whale dragging a single white buoy.

"Unfortunately, the timing and locations have proved too difficult for us to mount any sort of effective disentanglement. The sooner we relocate these animals, the quicker we can potentially mount an operation to remove entanglements."

If people observe an entangled whale it would be ideal if they can keep visual contact with the whale including capturing any images of the entanglement and contacting NPWS immediately.

"So far this season we have seen eight entangled whales. We will see more before the season is out I'm sure as last year's record was a total of 21," Ms Crocetti said.

Migrating whales occasionally become entangled in fishing gear and other ocean debris. Entangled whales tire quickly and often perish. NPWS maintains a number of specialised whale disentanglement teams who undertake the tricky task of removing entanglement.

To report entangled whales call the Enviroline on 131 555 or ORRCA on 02 9415 3333


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