'Distressing' rescue as entangled humpback whale freed from fishing ropes in Cornwall

  • Footage of the humpback whale in Mounts Bay from Constance Morris.

Rescue teams in Cornwall have freed a humpback whale from fisherman ropes after the creature was found entangled on Easter Sunday.

A concerned fishing boat reported the whale to the Marine Strandings Network, after spotting it struggling to move in Mounts Bay on the morning of Sunday 31 March.

Marine Discovery Penzance, a wildlife-watching tour, saw the whale too.

Hannah Wilson, co-owner of the tour group, said "[The whale was ] stuck fast, motionless, breathing only every three to four minutes, which isn’t too bad.

“You know if they’re panting or breathing every minute that’s bad, but it’s breathing was fairly calm, but it was very stationary. So we don’t know how long it had been.”

She said her team felt “helpless” as they were under strict instructions not to intervene because of the choppy conditions.

Skipper Andy of Atlantic Adventures spent the day monitoring the whale, known as Ivy, whilst rescue teams got to work.

That same evening, volunteers from Penlee Lifeboat managed to cut it free.

  • Footage from Isabelle O'Shea / The Dolphin Lady

Volunteers have described the day as a proud moment, but one that comes with a warning.

Constance Morris from community interest group Grampus Campus, said: "Everyone came together for the greater good and was on standby waiting to hear what was to be done.

"But this does highlight our wildlife's plight, this was right on outdoor step, and we could have lost her. She swam away with cuts and a little bit weak.

"But hopefully we won't be seeing her wash up, becoming another entanglement statistic.

"You can see the rope wrapped around her body in the photos."

After the whale was set free, Hannah said: “It’s incredible what the guy at helm achieved because it was properly rough.

“By then there was steep short chop, poor visibility, the whale started moving by this point.

“It was very impressive what he did. They cut the crucial rope, and the whale moved off, and that was that.”