Rough seas hamper whale rescue efforts

UPDATE: The National Parks and Wildlife Service believes the whale reported to be entangled off Sawtell is a juvenile humpback.

The NPWS has attempted to observe the whale on a vessel.  

"However, sea conditions have prevented us from being able to relocate it," a spokesperson for the Office of Environment and Heritage said.

"NPWS disentanglement crews further south have been alerted to respond if the whale is re-sighted." 

EARLIER: AUTHORITIES are responding to reports a whale is entangled off Sawtell.  

Fishermen have reported seeing a whale, possibly a calf, entangled in ropes and authorities are heading out to investigate.  

Leigh Mansfield from the marine rescue organisation ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) says they will not know for sure if it is an entanglement until representative from ORRCA and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have taken a closer look.  

"I can't say 100 per cent if it is an entanglement or not, we have people headed out there now. At this time of the year we get a lot of calls. You get lots of whales staying in the same spot and splashing about and people think they are entangled.  

"For every one entangled whale we get about 20 calls saying a whale is entangled. We're not saying 'don't call' we would prefer to get the calls and investigate than not have anybody contact us."  

The ORRCA reporting line is 9415 3333.   More details to come