Nfld. & Labrador

Whale entangled in fishing gear freed in Conception Bay

An animal rescue group freed a whale in Conception Bay on Saturday, and warns the situation was dangerous for nearby vessels.

Dangerous for nearby vessels when whales are dragging nets, says whale rescue group

This whale was entangled in fishing gear just off Kellys Island in Conception Bay on the weekend. (Whale Release and Strandings/Facebook)

An animal rescue group freed a whale in Conception Bay on Saturday, and warns the situation was dangerous for nearby vessels.

Whale Release and Strandings was called to Conception Bay on Aug. 5 to a report of a humpback whale towing two red buoys about 400 metres behind it, off Kellys Island. The buoys were attached to three gillnets that had entangled the whale.

"This was particularly scary as boats were crossing over and behind the whale as the animal was underwater at times and the gear trailing behind. People didn't realize it was entangled and then others came to view the whale," reads a post on the group's Facebook page.

This humpback whale had to be freed from gillnets in Conception Bay on Saturday. (Submitted by Joanne Thomas)

"Had one of these boats, many with families on board, gotten their propeller caught in the rope the whale could have dragged them under."

Whale Release and Strandings said the whale had towed the gear about 11 kilometres from where it was set near Holyrood.

The whale then towed the gear for about another kilometre before the group was able to disentangle it, with the owner able to retrieve his nets.

"Had we had any delay getting there we very easily could have lost the whale as it could have swum away towing the gear posing a grave danger to boaters," said the Facebook post.

Wayne Ledwell, of Whale Release and Strandings, told CBC's The Broadcast the group freed four whales over the last week in Placentia Bay, Trinity Bay and Conception Bay.

At least one of those, a humpback, was dead when they found it.

With files from The Broadcast

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