Trevor Long of Sea World Australia told The Gold Coast Bulletin. it was “completely enveloped” in netting by the time rescuers spotted it.
The video shows the whale thrashing and rolling repeatedly in an effort to free itself from the net, which caused the lines to tighten around its tail and pectoral fins.
However, the size of the whale and its panicked movements “made it quite a delicate rescue.”
Each year, at least 30,000 whales migrate the more than 6,000 miles between Queensland and Antarctica. The young humpback was the fourth this migratory season to get ensnared in a net.
Although shark nets are designed to protect swimmers at some 85 Australian beaches, they’re dangerous to sea life.
“These shark nets are indiscriminate killers… whales, dolphins, turtles [are] caught,” Long told the newspaper. “Not only is it a painful death, but it’s long and slow.”
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