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Italy: Operation to free sperm whale from illegally cast fishing net enters third day

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In this image taken from an Italian coast guard video a whale trapped in a fishnet in the waters near the Eolian islands, in the Mediterranean Sea.
In this image taken from an Italian coast guard video a whale trapped in a fishnet in the waters near the Eolian islands, in the Mediterranean Sea.   -   Copyright  Italian Coast Guard via AP
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An operation to free a sperm whale ensnared in a fishing net off the coast of Sicily entered its third day on Monday.

Coastguards, volunteers from the marine conservation NGO Sea Shepherd and marine biologist Carmelo Isgro have been working to cut the net from around the mammal for more than two days.

Isgro explained on Facebook that the net had wrapped itself around the mammal from "head to tail" and that work to remove it has been slow because the animal is skittish.

Capodoglio impigliato in una rete illegale a largo delle Isole Eolie

L'incredibile video della liberazione del Capodoglio completamente impigliato in una rete illegale a largo delle Isole Eolie, che lo avvolgeva dalla testa alla coda. E' stata tolta molta rete che lo imprigionava ma ancora molta rete resta impigliata nella coda e poichè è molto nervoso non si lascia aiutare. Ieri sera il Capodoglio ha cominciato a fare delle immersioni sempre più lunghe (oltre mezz'ora per singola immersione). Poiché spesso riemergeva distante dal punto di immersione non era facile individuarlo al suo ritorno in superficie e al calar della sera è stato perso di vista. Stamattina siamo tutti alla sua ricerca e speriamo che oggi possa essere avvistato e che sia magari un po' più stanco di ieri in modo da lasciarsi aiutare. Va sottolineato che il tentativo di ieri di liberarlo dalla rete è stato un grande lavoro di squadra che ha visto in prima linea gli uomini della Guardia costiera, sia di Lipari che poi della "Diciotti" (che ci hanno scortato per tutta la notte) e ancora dopo del nucleo sommozzatori della Capitaneria di Porto di Napoli...ragazzi che hanno dimostrato un coraggio incredibile. Vi assicuro che operare con dei coltelli su un animale di 12 metri che si dimena come un pazzo per il dolore e che ha la forza per spostare agilmente le 15 tonnellate del suo peso non è una cosa da poco. 🇬🇧 The incredible video of the release of the sperm whale completely entangled in an illegal network off the Aeolian Islands, which wrapped it from head to tail. A lot of net was removed which imprisoned him but still a lot of net remains entangled in the tail and as he is very nervous he does not let himself be helped. Last night the sperm whale began to make dives longer and longer (over half an hour for a single dive). As he often surfaced away from the dive site, it was not easy to spot him when he returned to the surface and at nightfall he was lost sight of. We are all looking for him this morning and we hope that today he will be spotted and that he may be a little more tired than yesterday in order to let himself be helped. It should be stressed that yesterday's attempt to free him from the network was a great team effort that saw the men of the Coast Guard at the forefront, both from Lipari and then from the "Diciotti" (who escorted us all night) and still after the dive center of the Port Authority of Naples ... guys who showed incredible courage. I assure you that operating with knives on a 12-meter animal that wriggles like a madman in pain and that has the strength to easily move the 15 tons of its weight is not a trivial matter. #guardiacostiera #spermwhale #capodoglio #mumamilazzo

Publiée par Carmelo Isgrò sur Lundi 20 juillet 2020

"She is very nervous and does not let herself be helped. Last night the sperm whale began to make longer and longer dives (over half an hour for a single dive)," he wrote.

"As she often surfaces away from the dive site, it's not easy to spot her when she returns to the surface and at nightfall, we lost sight of her," he added.

"I assure you that operating with knives on a 12-meter animal that wriggles like a madman in pain and that has the strength to easily move the 15 tons of its weight is not a trivial matter," he went on, praising his fellow divers' "incredible courage".

Divers lost track of the animal at nightfall on Sunday and spent Monday looking for it in vain.

Most of the net has been removed but the whale's tail remains encased, Isgro said. Rescuers hope to be able to spot the whale again on Tuesday.

According to Sea Shepherd, it's the second whale to be caught in an illegally cast drift net over the past three weeks in this area.

"The entire marine ecosystem is under attack by illegal fishing," the NGO wrote on Facebook.

Capodoglio impigliato nella rete

🚨Breaking News🚨 Sea Shepherd in coordinamento con la Guardia Costiera di Milazzo, Muciara Diving e con la presenza del biologo Carmelo Isgrò, ha svolto un intervento subacqueo per liberare un Capodoglio. Il secondo, in meno di tre settimane, impigliato in una rete derivante . 𝐋'𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐨 𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐨 𝐞̀ 𝐬𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐨 𝐝𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚 𝐩𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐚 𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐞. Aiutaci a combattere➡️ action=difference https://bit.ly/3fJRPDD Aggiornamenti nelle prossime ore

Publiée par Sea Shepherd Italia sur Samedi 18 juillet 2020