Fight to free baby whale trapped in ropes and buoys
Authorities and volunteers are trying to help a baby whale struggling after being caught up in ropes and buoys off the northern beaches.
Police and National Parks and Wildlife Service crews, as well as the ORRCA whale rescue organisation are trying to assist the distressed humpback.
There were concerns that the calf had become entangled in ropes used as part of the NSW Government's SMART shark drumline trials, but the Department of Primary Industries confirmed this morning it was not part of its drumline equipment.
Investigations were underway into whether the panel of net the whale was caught up in had been dragged down all the way from Queensland as it appeared to be similar to meshing used in the Qeensland Shark Control program.
The source said the animal also bore resemblance to a whale first sighted at Scotts Head on the State's north coast on September 29, and again at Seal Rocks, Catherine Hill Bay.
The whale was initially caught in several net panels, but two had since fallen away in the past two days, the source said.
Experts believe the whale is a juvenile, and is being "escorted" by an adult male - a potential issue for any rescue operations
A total of 20 buoys are set each day about 500m from the shoreline during the new three-month trial that ends on December 1.
There are 10 drumlines between Manly and Dee Why beaches another 10 set up between Newport and Palm beach.
The calf was seen floundering off Avalon and Bilgola beaches early today.
But it was first spotted in trouble, dragging two orange buoys, about 20 nautical miles off Catherine Hill Bay, on the northern end of the Central Coast early on Thursday.
It has been slowly heading south.
A spokesman for the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) said they have been fielding calls from the northern beaches about the trapped whale since 6:30am this morning.