Marine rescuers were able to remove most, but not all, of the shark nets around a humpback whale in Australia. The animal was completely entangled in a big mass of shark nets with orange buoys and yellow weights, placed in the ocean by humans.
The humpback whale was crying and desperately hitting his tail on the surface of the sea to try to remove the shark nets. Footage showed rescuers trying to cut the nets with poles with blades at the end.
“There was so much net all over him,” a resident told local television network Nine Network.
On Wednesday, surfers tried to remove the shark nets from the trapped animal off Queensland’s Gold Coast, but marine mammal park Sea World and the Queensland Department of Fisheries took over the operation.
They stopped at night because the water was too rough and continued on Thursday.
Animals die in shark nets
Shark nets are placed around beaches to reduce shark attacks on swimmers. They are not meant as a barrier between swimmers and sharks but to capture and kill the animals.
The principle behind it is “fever sharks, fever attacks“, which means reducing shark attacks by killing them. The nets are designed to get sharks so stuck in them that they can’t escape and eventually die.
Shark nets entangle and kill not only sharks but also whales, dolphins, turtles and stingrays.
Environmentalists and animal rights activists have condemned shark nets, calling them unethical and harmful for the marine ecosystem.
South Africa also uses shark nets. “They’re basically curtains of death,” said shark diver Walter Bernardis. “Everything that puts its head in that net dies.”
There are alternatives to shark nets like aerial drones, helicopter surveillance, listening stations, personal shark deterrent devices and SMART drumlines. Those are more efficient and innovative and don’t kill animals.
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