Call for immediate moratorium on octopus trapping after whale carcass found

On Thursday morning the City of Cape Town retrieved the carcass and confirmed the whale was entangled in an octopus fishery line and drowned.

A humpback whale carcass was found near Sunny Cove  on 26 June 2019. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Simonstown residents are calling for an immediate moratorium on all octopus trapping in False Bay.

This is after a humpback whale carcass was found floating about 500 metres off Sunny Cove on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning the City of Cape Town retrieved the carcass and confirmed the whale was entangled in an octopus fishery line and drowned.

The City said this was the third whale entanglement and second death as a result of octopus fishery in the past two weeks.

Resident Allison Thomson's online petition, calling a on the national Department of Environmental Affairs to place a moratorium on octopus fishing, gained more than 22,000 signatures by Thursday afternoon.

“I do believe there are solutions to the entanglement. It will come at a cost to fisheries, but we can’t allow this to continue.”

She said these traps, with long ropes tied to buoys that float on the surface, not only endangered whales and dolphins, but also posed a huge risk to sea craft.

“We have marine scientists and large NGOs on board to back us. We have also been offered free legal assistance.”

The City also called for a moratorium on the exploratory octopus permit, which it said was issued by the Fisheries Department without consulting the City about 17 years ago.

EWN is still awaiting comment from the department.