Baby whale caught in shark nets

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS -

THE “dis­tress­ing” scene of a baby whale caught in a shark net at Green­mount beach has re­newed calls to scrap the nets.

Sea World’s di­rec­tor of marine science, Trevor Long, was one of eight peo­ple to res­cue a fourme­tre whale from a shark net on Tues­day morn­ing.

His team re­ceived the call just be­fore 6am and was able to free the whale as its mother watched on by 7.30am.

“Both mother and calf had been in the net,” he said.

“The mother still had a tiny piece of net on her nose, she had been in the net and there was a big hole next to where the baby was.

“The calf had a lot of skin abra­sion from where the nets had rubbed it raw.

“I don’t think these are life-threat­en­ing but it iden­ti­fies it has been in the net for a long time.”

Dr Long said this could be avoided if the nets were re­placed with drum­lines which are used in other ar­eas where nets had been killing too many dugong.

He said the re­place­ment of nets had not had an im­pact on swim­mers as re­cent stud­ies had shown about 50 per cent of sharks caught in nets were swim­ming from the shore back out to sea.

And if the nets were re­moved it would stop the “end­less killing of a lot of marine life”.

“What I would like to see is the gov­ern­ment hold a work­shop,” Dr Long said.

“If we hold a work­shop where we gather all the peo­ple with the ex­per­tise and at least have open ears, then hope­fully we can move for­ward in­stead of a whole lot of end­less killing of marine life that oc­curs ev­ery year.”

The De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries was con­tacted for com­ment.

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