UPDATE: Crews must attach buoys to baby whale

A whale calf trailing a net swims with its mother off Depot Beach on Monday, October 13. By Tuesday morning, the whale had reached Narooma and NPWS crews hope to mount a rescue effort.

A whale calf trailing a net swims with its mother off Depot Beach on Monday, October 13. By Tuesday morning, the whale had reached Narooma and NPWS crews hope to mount a rescue effort.

12.50pm: Rescuers are likely to attach floating buoys to a whale calf trapped in a net to prevent it diving, before attempting to cut it free.

Specialist whale entanglement crews are on the way to assess the humpback whale calf tangled in nylon rope and floats off Narooma.

National Parks and Wildlife Service team leader Lawrence Orel has overseen similar rescue efforts elsewhere.

“We want to assure people that we are keen to assist the animal, but that the safety of everyone is paramount,” Mr Orel said.

“It can’t happen until both animals are calm enough and that usually happens when they are exhausted and tired out.”

The first step was, ironically, to attach more floating buoys, which slowed the animals down and prevented them from diving, he said.

Once the mother was calm enough, crews in rubber boats could approach and use cutting hooks to free the whale.

“We are going to need to pay attention to the mother as they are usually very protective,” he said.

The whale was sighted off Kianga, north of Narooma on Tuesday morning, after swimming from north of Batemans Bay overnight.

The large NPWS vessel Shearwater, based in Narooma, has since located the pair and was now assessing the situation while awaiting the specialist crews to arrive from Ulladulla and Merimbula with their rubber duck craft.

10.48am: A National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) crew has confirmed a whale trapped in a net near Narooma Golf Course on Tuesday morning.

Rescue crews from Ulladulla and Merimbula are on route to the scene.

Spokeswoman Sarah Scroope said crews have successfully rescued whales caught in nets in the past.

“We have had a lot of successful attempts,” she said.

Ms Scroope said the whale was confirmed in the area at 10.30am, in waters off the golf course.

9.40am: A baby whale sighted on Monday caught in a net north of Batemans Bay has been reported off Narooma on Tuesday morning.

Narooma resident JoAnne Nitsche reported at 9.35am that she had seen the distressed calf near Surf Beach, Narooma, heading towards the town’s cemetery.

A National Parks and Wildlife Service large vessel, the Shearwater was launched on Tuesday morning to search for the whale after it was reported off Kianga.

Spokeswoman Sarah Scroope said inflatable boats were being brought from Ulladulla and Merimbula for a potential rescue effort.

The whale was sighted on Monday lunchtime off Depot Beach, in the Murramarang National Park, swimming with its mother.

The NPWS identified it has a juvenile humpback, probably born in winter in Queenland and now migrating back to Antarctica.

More details as they come to hand.

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