A 12 metre humpback whale rescued after being entangled in fishing rope off Shelly Beach on Sunday, September 17 has died.
The whale struggled throughout the night to return out to sea after being freed but died and washed close to shore at Nobby’s Beach on Monday morning.
Marine Rescue Port Macquarie and ORRCA Marine Mammal and Rescue crew with the assistance of National Parks and Wildlife and police have closed off Nobbys Beach to co-ordinate a tow out to sea operation.
Port Macquarie Lifeguards have closed all beaches from Town Beach to Lighthouse Beach while the towing operation is underway. A number of sharks have been spotted in the area.
The whale was found 200 metres off Shelly Beach on Sunday in distress with a 4.5 metre great white shark circling.
Volunteers from Marine Rescue Port Macquarie transported a team from NPWS to provide assistance.
Members of the Large Whale Disentanglement Team based at Port Macquarie removed a knot of rope from the whale’s pectoral fin.
Geoff Shelton of Marine Rescue Port Macquarie feared the exhausted whale could beach itself.
Mr Shelton said while attempting to cut the ropes a large shark circled the whale making the rescue more perilous.
The whale was freed from the rope at about 2.15pm but continued to struggle in shallow waters.