Published November 19, 2012 09:46
On 16th November 2012 a Humpback calf about 5m in size was trapped in shark nets at Salt Rock Beach. It had net draped over its head and torso, all the way down to just behind the dorsal fin. The left side pectoral was also fairly tightly pulled alongside the body. A 60" inflatable marker buoy was secured to the net as close as possible to the animal to immobilize it as much as possible. Cutting began at the head and the majority of the panel was removed fairly easily. The left pectoral was problematic as a 14mm sinker rope was wrapped around the base of the pectoral. It was also positioned underneath the animal’s belly, running rearward to a tight bunch of net just behind the tail, and very difficult to reach as the animal never rolled over giving a clear target. It was eventually cut through, along with all of the remaining twine, and the animal swam free. The accompanying adult (mother) remained closely alongside the calf for the entire operation, never moving more than a few metres away. This made the operation infinitely more difficult as the adult made the calf more aggressive and excitable.
With acknowledgement to the Natal sharks board which is a member of the South African Whale Disentanglement Network.