A humpback whale has been rescued off the south-east Queensland coast after dragging commercial fishing tackle all the way from northern Victoria.
A Sea World rescue team was alerted to the large adult whale wrapped in rope and buoys near North Stradbroke Island on Thursday.
Marine scientist Trevor Long says the distressed whale was wrapped around the body by the lobster pot tackle.
“It just goes to show you some of the difficulties these animals must face,” he told reporters.
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Mr Long said the team weren’t able to remove all the tackle and some rope was still caught behind its pectoral fin.
“Hopefully over the next few days the animal might be able to free itself because these animals do an amazing amount of activity, breaches and things like that,” he said.
Mr Long said if the whale hadn’t been freed, the rope and buoys would have eventually killed it.
Weather conditions favoured the rescuers during the dramatic 90-minute rescue, however Mr Long said the distressed whale was swimming so fast Sea World’s rescue boat struggled to keep up at first.
It meant the Sea World team wasn’t able to use the usual method of attaching a buoy to tire the animal out.
Instead, they used their anchor attached to their boat to slow the animal so they could remove the tackle.
After rescuing the whale, it was discovered traps attached to the ropes had identity tags linking it to waters in northern Victoria.
Meanwhile, Migaloo the famous white whale has reportedly been spotted off the northern NSW coast heading for Queensland.