Monday, 6 August 2012

Humpback whale freed from Queensland shark nets - But hundreds of sharks, dolphins and turtles not so lucky

Indiscrinate nets kill hundreds of sharks, turtles, dolphins and rays
August. 2012. The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol's Marine Animal Release Team has successfully freed a juvenile whale from shark nets off the Gold Coast. Shark Control Program Manager Jeff Krause, from the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, said the 8 metre long animal was moderately entangled in the nets.



"The Marine Animal Release Team was activated immediately once reports were received of the whale, and quickly assessed the best strategy to release the whale. Seaworld also assisted with the release," Mr Krause said.
"The release was complicated by the whale diving repeatedly under water, and the presence of two adult whales nearby. Throughout the situation the whale was relatively calm and was near the surface, which meant it could breathe easily. It appears the animal was a juvenile, and we often find it is these younger whales that can get caught up. This is mainly due to their inexperience in identifying obstructions in the water such as shark nets."  
Non target species
A Fisheries Queensland spokesperson said "Over the past three years, only one whale each year was caught in shark control equipment and they were all successfully freed."
"The Queensland Government is committed to the Shark Control Program because human safety must come first, but we do strive to get the balance right through the use of a number of measures to reduce entanglements of non-target species."

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