A humpback whale calf has been tangled in fishing nets off the NSW south coast for more than a day, with a desperate rescue attempt being mounted to cut the animal free.
The whale, swimming with its mother, was spotted off the coast of Batemans Bay on Monday afternoon by a helicopter pilot. Rescuers dashed to free the calf, but it was not until Tuesday morning the National Parks and Wildlife Service located the pair of whales.
NPWS staff have spent the day figuring out how to disentangle the calf.
"We want to assure people that we are keen to assist the animal, but that the safety of everyone is paramount,” NPWS team leader Lawrence Orel told Fairfax Media.
“It can’t happen until both animals are calm enough and that usually happens when they are exhausted and tired out.”
The Batemans Bay Post reports rescuers may attach floating buoys to the whale to prevent it from diving, so responders can untangle it from the net. Crews in rubber boats will likely use cutting hooks to free the animal.