Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


An adult humpback whale has become entangled in ropes attached to what is thought to be a crayfish pot. The whale is located at Kingfish Reef, off Deep Water Cove, southern Bay of Islands.

Date:  07 September 2018

The entangled whale was reported in to the DOC Bay of Islands office by a crew member on a commercial tourism vessel at 12 noon, 6 September 2018.

Yesterday afternoon a whale entanglement response team was deployed to assess the situation. The team were unable to free the whale but were able take photos and collect information. The assessment of the whale found that it is not able to move freely but is still breathing.

The response team has been deployed again today.

Three vessels (Wavelength (Tri Oceans), Matauwhi (DOC), Waikare (Harbourmaster)) are on the water several miles north of Okahu Island in the Eastern Bay of Islands. A helicopter is also out and being used for an air search to locate the whale.

As of 11 am today, there has been no sign of the whale however the search will continue as sea conditions permit.

Bay of Islands marine weather conditions are likely to worsen. Therefore, a call will be made later today on whether it is safe to continue the response. If the weather makes it unsafe to proceed today, the weather conditions are due to ease tomorrow morning and another plan will be put in place for a response tomorrow.

DOC has received offers of help, however at this stage we have enough resources on the water including a spotter plan and vessels to assist and support the main response team. Any further resources may hamper the rescue effort.

The team needs to focus their attention on the whale and minimise any further disturbance to the whale, and would appreciate vessels staying well clear of the area.

Further updates will be provided throughout the day as information is received.


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