DOC appeals for sightings of humpback whale entangled in fishing gear

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is appealing for any sightings of a humpback whale spotted entangled in fishing gear off the Otago coast.

This video was taken by a group of Otago University students while on a field trip near Karitane.

The humpback had a rope wrapped around its body and tail with a buoy trailing behind which appears to be from a fishing boat.

DOC ranger Mike Morrissey, who leads the South Island large whale disentanglement team, asks any boaties spotting the whale to not get close to it or do anything that would disturb or harass the whale.

"We ask that no one attempts to cut away the buoy being trailed by the whale. It can be dangerous and removing the buoy makes it more difficult for our trained team to carry out the whale disentanglement procedures.

"People seeing the whale can assist our rescue response by staying with the whale, monitoring it and advising of its exact location for our disentanglement team to get to it.

"The whale will likely be in some distress but it is moving and is not any immediate danger so urgent action isn't required. The priority is people's safety and ensuring disentanglement is carried out safely by our trained team."

Anyone who sees the entangled whale should call DOC's 24-hour hotline 0800 DOCHOT/0800 36 24 68.

DOC advises no one should attempt to cut the whale free themselves as it can be very dangerous.


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