WATCH: Whale rescued after it got entangled in fishing line

The whale was entangled in a fishing line around its tail. Picture: NSRI

The whale was entangled in a fishing line around its tail. Picture: NSRI

Published Jul 3, 2024


On Friday, June 28, the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) reported a distressed whale entangled in fishing line off-shore of Walker Bay, Hermanus, in the Western Cape.

The local whale charter vessel Miroscha was monitoring the whale from a safe distance. The whale was entangled in fishing line around its tail.


Miroscha remained on the scene and provided coordinates.

The NSRI Hermanus rescue craft Rescue 17 Alpha was launched at 9.37am, accompanied by a qualified SAWDN NSRI crew and carrying specialised cutting tools.

When the skipper and crew of Miroscha arrived on the scene, they were congratulated for their care and resumed their cruise, said the NSRI.

“We found the juvenile Southern Right whale, eight to nine metres in length, with a large amount of tuna monofilament long line entangled around its tail, flukes and caudal peduncle - it was evident that line had embedded into the flesh and the cutting free of the line was urgent.

“It is unclear, at present, if the tuna monofilament long line is local or foreign. This will be investigated in cooperation the Department of Environment.

“Cautiously approaching the whale, in a number of efforts to cut the fishing long line off the tail, the flukes and the caudal peduncle, we managed, using the specialised cutting equipment, to get a majority of the line cut free,” said those on the rescue craft.

They added that the line had been embedded inside the whale, indicating that it had most likely been entangled for quite some time, but due to the difficulty of cutting the line free, the specialist SAWDN cutting equipment suffered significant damage.

However, once the whale looked to have greater manoeuvrability after being released of a huge piece of the long line, it dived beneath the surface and was never seen again, despite a search of the vicinity in the hopes that the whale would reappear.

However, later that day, the local whale charter vessel Umnati reported encountering what seemed to be the same whale in the same area.