Subject: NSW: Stranded whale frees itse
Sun, 6 Oct 96 22:05:00 GMT

NSW: Stranded whale frees itself

   SYDNEY, Oct 3 AAP - A juvenile whale stranded in fishing nets
off the New South Wales far north coast had freed itself and was
now heading south with two adults, a National Parks and Wildlife
Service (NPWS) spokesman said.
   The spokesman said a fisherman reported the 10-metre humpback
whale had become caught in the nets about three kilometres off
Kingscliff about 8am today.
   A rescue squad from the Sea World marine park on the Gold Coast
was dispatched to try to free the distressed animal, he said.
   "On their first attempt the whale became aggressive which is
quite unusual, then on the second attempt the whale managed to free
itself," he said.
   "We've done a helicopter survey of the whale and it's certainly
not injured, it's certainly not bleeding.
   "It's moving south with two adults."
   The spokesman said a flotilla of spectator boats was now
following the whales after the incident.
   He reminded spectators they could face heavyfines if they broke
regulations banning boats from within 100 metres of whales.
   Cases of whales getting trapped in nets were more likely to
occur as whale numbers increased, the spokesman said.
   "It's something all fishers should be aware of," he said.