Exhausted Whale Left Trailing Chain and Shark Net Buoys After Harrowing Two-Day Rescue Attempt in Queensland
Friday, 13 Aug, 2021
A young whale entangled in a shark net at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast has been released after over two days of struggling for its life with a length of anchor chain and large, deflated shark net buoys still attached.
After a gruelling two-day rescue effort, Queensland Shark Control Program personnel have confirmed to Sea Shepherd that the whale reported as entangled in a shark net on the August 11, 2021 has been released with ‘significant pieces’ of the shark net attached. These pieces include a length of anchor chain and large shark net buoys that have been deflated by the rescue teams to allow the whale to dive.
Sea Shepherd fears for the survival of this beautiful, young whale. In addition to having buoys and chain still attached to it, the whale would have no doubt experienced stress and injury throughout the rescue efforts.
"The Queensland Government may not use harpoons, but their pointless killing nets do the same job in a far more cruel and barbaric way, strangling and suffocating for hours on end until one of our iconic Australian Humpbacks draws its last breath. Or in this case with the whale lost, we have ropes acting like razor blades, continuing to tighten and cut deep into the whale's tail region, disabling its ability to swim and outrun predators, thereby a death sentence to this whale from the QLD Government."- Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director, Jeff Hansen
This was an extremely difficult and dangerous rescue attempt with great risk undertaken by rescue crews. These rescues ought to be a thing of the past, especially when consideration is given to the modern technology available to enhance beach safety without impacting on these magnificent creatures.
"In 2021, we don’t have to choose between keeping our loved ones safe or precious marine life, we can do both with modern-day non-lethal and effective shark mitigation solutions. We encourage the Queensland Government to stand on the right side of history, to be a world leader in shark mitigation and embrace the real solutions available today and leave the current lethal ineffective methods where they belong, in the past.”- Apex Harmony Campaign Coordinator, Jonathan Clark
Each year, over 20,000 whales travel from Antarctica to the warm waters of north Queensland between April and November. While this is the first case of a whale entanglement this year, it is likely there will be more if the Queensland Government doesn’t remove these deadly, destructive shark nets. Since 2011, at least 49 whales have been caught in shark culling nets or drumlines in the state.
We're calling on the Queensland Fisheries Minister for the immediate removal of shark nets for the whale migration season in Queensland so mother and baby whales can migrate safely. The nets can be immediately replaced with more effective technology like drone surveillance and shark spotting programs.