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Removal of octopus traps in False Bay may take weeks - CoCT

At least four whales have become entangled in octopus nets in False Bay over the past two weeks and last week, a humpback whale carcass was found floating about 500 metres off Sunny Cove.

Members of the NSRI rescued a juvenile humpback whale that was disentangled in Buffels Bay on 1 July 2019. Picture: Simon McDonnel/SAWDN SA Whale Disentanglement Network

CAPE TOWN - City of Cape Town said that it may take weeks to remove octopus traps in False Bay.

On Monday, an eight-metre juvenile humpback whale was disentangled from the traps in Buffels Bay.

At least four whales have become entangled in octopus nets in False Bay over the past two weeks and last week, a humpback whale carcass was found floating about 500 metres off Sunny Cove.

Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy has temporarily suspended octopus fishing following an online petition with about 26,000 signatures.

The City of Cape Town's Gregg Oelofse said that the traps were being removed.

"We would argue that the risk is high around the inshore, which is between the areas of between the Buffels Bay area and Simon's Town, Miller's Point Glencairn, Fish Hoek."

Creecy said that the possible use of "acoustic release buoys" or "time release buoys" were being discussed to minimise the need for vertical lines.

However, Seachange's Craig Forster said that this would only help certain whale species.

"So the humpback and Southern Right whale tend to get caught in the line from the buoy and down to the trap and the endangered Bryde whale, those animals always get caught in the lines going from trap to trap. Acoustic release are extremely expensive."