Shark experts have renewed calls to have shark nets removed from waters off the Australian coast after three whales got tangled in the space of a week.
A humpback whale was found caught in netting off the coast of Kirra, south of the Gold Coast on Friday morning at around 6:30am.
It’s the second whale to get tangled in that same shark net in just 72 hours. Poor lil (or big) guys.
The situation has prompted calls from experts and activists for more humane methods of containing sharks near popular beaches.
Per The Guardian, Dr Leonardo Gudia — a shark specialist at the Australian Marine Conservation Society — said the number of whales getting tangled in shark nets is “beyond a joke”.
“In less than 72 hours, at the same beach, in the same shark net, another whale is entangled,” he said.
“I appreciate the need to test and evaluate, especially as a scientist, but at the same time, these technologies are proven and have been longstanding in New South Wales, and WA.
“There comes a time when you’ve got to stop reinventing the wheel.”
The young humpback whale was eventually freed by rescue teams from Sea World Rescue and Fisheries Queensland.
The teams spent 45 minutes cutting and removing ropes and netting from the whale’s tail, head and pectoral fin, allowing it to swim away freely.
It’s believed that around 40,000 humpback whales migrate up the coast every year.
The Queensland Government said it will trial more humane options like acoustic pingers, but will not remove physical shark nets until an alternative is “proven suitable” for the conditions off the Queensland coast.
According to activist group Sea Shepherd, humpback whales are having a rough time of their migration.
Sea Shepherd shark defence campaigner Jonathan Clark said the absolute bare minimum should be no nets during the whale’s migration season.
“I know personally of several whale watching operators – both small whale watching operators and large operators – and no one in that community is a supporter of shark nets,” he said, per The Brisbane Times.
“They all believe that the shark nets be removed at an absolute bare minimum during the whale migration season.
“Of course, we go a lot further.”
Surely the poor whales have been through enough at this point. They just want to swim!