IN a great day for whales, two humpback whales have been freed from entangling ropes in separate rescue operations on the Mid North Coast this week.
The first 10 metre whale was cut free by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) whale disentanglement team, supported by the Marine Rescue Forster-Tuncurry and ORRCA this morning about one kilometre off the Crowdy Bay Lighthouse at Harrington.
NPWS Great Lakes Area acting manager and rescue operation co-ordinator, Rachel Kempers said as the crews were returning to shore a local surfer raised the alarm about another entangled animal a little further south, just off Old Bar.
"Crews were also able to free this similar sized whale also entangled in ropes and buoys," Ms Kempers said.
"The successful operations would not have been possible without the support of those involved as well as the dedicated whale disentanglement team," she said.
"While the conditions were good, both whales where extremely agitated making the very difficult operation even more dangerous.
"If the material had not been removed the chances of these whales surviving would not have been good.
"It has been a fantastic result with everyone able to work together effectively and safely and to see the whale continuing it journey north without ropes attached.
"Freeing the whale involved using an inflatable rescue boat with the crew using hook-shaped knives on long poles which minimised risk to rescuers.
"Increasing whale numbers and human use of the oceans mean there is a greater chance whales can be entangled."
in fishing gear, nets or ropes.
"When entangled whales are reported we often need to locate the animal using an aerial search, as they can continue moving, and there can be long delays before the rescuers find them.
"As entangled whales are often reported by fishers while they are at sea it is of great assistance if they can remain with the animal until the rescue team arrives."