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Creecy temporarily suspends exploratory fishing for octopus after outcry

A humpback whale carcass entangled in an octopus net was found floating about 500 metres off Sunny Cove on Wednesday.

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

CAPE TOWN - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister of Barbara Creecy has decided to temporarily suspend exploratory fishing for octopus with immediate effect.

Creecy said the decision was taken following widespread public concern regarding recent whale entanglements in False Bay this week.

A humpback whale carcass entangled in an octopus net was found floating about 500 metres off Sunny Cove on Wednesday.

This is the third whale entanglement and second death as a result of octopus fishing in the past two weeks.

Creecy's decision follows an online petition which gained about 25,000 signatures by Friday afternoon. The petition was launched by a Simonstown resident after the whale's carcass was found.

The Sea Change Project's Swati Thiyagarajan said it was not just the octopus traps that killed whales but lobster fishing fisheries too.

She explained: “What they do is, they lunge feed and they swim at super fast speeds to catch their foods. So, they dive down with their mouths open to grab food with these hoops that have been attached as traps. They're kind of floating and they get caught in the animal’s mouths. The animal panics, it twists, becomes entangles and it dies.”