The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has reported that a male humpback whale has been freed after getting caught in a net in the Sir Francis Drake’s Channel.
Mr. Ken Pemberton of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said that reports were received on Monday, April 12, of a whale south of Nanny Cay covered with fishing net.
Mr. Pemberton said, “We were concerned that the whale could drown from being caught in the net. Luckily he was somehow able to shake the net loose. Ghost fishing nets and other marine debris can result in the death of marine animals, so we have to be vigilant about what we discard in the ocean.”
It is reported that the male humpback was in the company of a female and her calf and did not appear in distress when last seen.
Dr. Shannon Gore of the Association of Reef Keepers was one of the key responders who quickly arranged with Blue Water Divers to mobilise a vessel to search for the mammal.
Dr. Gore said, “The divers were able to see that there was about 50 feet of line left on the whale. The whale went into shallow water to try and rid itself of the line by rubbing itself on the seafloor. But it was not in a position that it could not move.” She added. “It is possible that the line drifted in from the open ocean but if you do see a large patch of debris in the water let us know. We can be reached at 496-7998.”
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour extends its gratitude to the community for its support in locating the whale. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Shannon Gore of the Association of Reef Keepers, Husky Salvage of Blue Water Divers, and Chris Juredin of Commercial Dive Services and VISAR.
Whales frequent the warm waters of the Caribbean during the winter months to mate and give birth and several sightings have been reported.
The public is reminded to keep the Territory’s beaches and water free from pollution by disposing of waste and garbage safely.