26 September 2023

Distress call: Keep an eye out for entangled whale heading south

| Katrina Condie
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Tangled whale

The entangled whale is heading down the coast. Photo: Kate Rogers.

The call has gone out for members of the public to keep an eye out for a humpback whale tangled in nets on the South Coast.

The distressed whale was reported to the ORRCA Rescue Hotline Team on Monday (25 September) after it was spotted about 4.5 kilometres off Depot Beach north of Batemans Bay.

It was later seen trailing rope and four white buoys at 2:50 pm off South Durras.

The incident occurred just days out from ORRCA’s Southern Migration Census Day – Sunday (1 October), when members of the public are asked to head to a headland or lookout and count whales as they head south with their calves.

According to ORRCA, the humpback is travelling south and expected to be between Dalmeny and Merimbula this morning (26 September).

“We have ORRCA members heading out at various vantage points trying to track this whale today, but we need more help,” an ORRCA spokesperson said.

“If you are out and about along any coastline, we ask members of the public to please keep an eye out and report any entanglement sightings.

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“We are in the change-over of migration season for the humpback migration, and there are lots of whales moving north and south along our coastline at the moment.”

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Large Whale Disentanglement Teams are on standby, and ORRCA members are ready to coordinate a response if it is located.

ORRCA has requested that if members of the public see this whale or any other entangled marine mammals, they should urgently call the ORRCA Rescue Hotline on 02 9415 3333. ORRCA is asking for members of the public try to get a photo or video to confirm the entanglement, plus a GPS location.

Do not approach an entangled whale. All whales and dolphins are protected in Australian waters.

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