Rescue mission

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A special whale-watch alert went out yesterday — one which could be a life-and-death matter for an eight-metre humpback.

The fettered whale was last seen on Monday near Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula.

“The rope extends around its body, around one of its pectoral fins and through the mouth,” Wildlife and Marine Conservation Section head Rosemary Gales said.

“Although the whale appeared to be moving well and diving, the entanglement means the whale can’t survive if the rope remains,” she said.

“Apart from restricting movement and feeding, the rope will also constrict as the animals grows.”

The department would like all while sightings reported, whether or not they appear to be of the afflicted humpback.

Wildlife and Marine Conservation staff have been given guidelines on how to free the whale and are keen to get the opportunity to restore its freedom.

The department has asked boat owners particularly to watch for the whale.

Whales are returning from breeding to feed in Antarctic waters.

Report sightings to the hotline 0427 WHALES (0427 942 537).