A group of specialist divers were called into action to rescue a whale who was tangled up in a web of fishing nets.
The distressed Whale was spotted near Port William on the island of Navarino, which is just off Cape Horn on the southern tip of Patagonia, 2,112 miles from Santiago, the capital of Chile.
The Chilean navy was alerted to the marine mammal’s predicament by nearby fisherman and sent a patrol boat to investigate the situation. When they finally found the helpless sea creature they freed it from its entanglement.
Prior to the navy’s arrival, the whale tried to free itself from the fishing nets, which is used for catching spider crabs. In the video, a specialist diver is seen swimming up to the whale to try and release it from the nets. However, the huge mammal is unaware of this, as it twists in the water and swims away it unknowingly makes the task more complicated.
However, according to local media reports, the specially trained team managed to cut the whale free from the nets and the whale was able to swim out to open sea in good condition.
Before being set free the whale was described as being ‘agitated and fearful’, which is completely understandable.
Captain Cesar Quiroga, Commander of the Beagle Naval District, and Maritime Director of Port William, issued a warning to fisherman in the area to make sure they removed all their netting once they had finished fishing.
Marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, often drown after being caught in fishing nets. It has prompted sealife and animal rights groups to campaign for trawling nets to be banned because it sweeps up marine life indiscriminately.
It’s believed up to 82 per cent of North Atlantic right whales and about half of the endangered humpbacks between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia have become entangled at least once in fishermen’s nets, according to Yale Environment 360. Unfortunately, it has become a sad fact of life for large whales.
Even if groups of specialists are successful in freeing entangled whales, there are cases where a whale has been so badly injured that they can no longer survive in the ocean. In some cases the only option to ease these whales’ suffering is euthanasia.
Scott Landry, who directs the East Coast’s main disentanglement program at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, says:
This is where the lines between conservation and the ethical treatment of animals become blurred. I really would not want to regret ending the life of an animal that is so incredibly rare. And would I rather it just swim out in the ocean suffering for months and months on end? I’d rather have neither.
In August 2017 it was discovered that up to 177 whales were slaughtered during Japan’s annual hunt in the north-west Pacific Ocean. Authorities claim the hunt was solely for ‘scientific research’.
Japan’s fisheries agency claimed it would gather its data on the whales’ stomach contents before submitting their results to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), as reported by The Independent.
If you want more information about whale entanglement and how you can help prevent it from happening, visit the International Whaling Commission website.
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