Like many drone owners in the Cape, I was out around False Bay today looking for the first whales of the season in hopes of capturing them from above. I saw something close to Rooiels that looked like a whale, but it wasn’t moving at all. I decided to fly the drone out to it and what I found was heartbreaking.
This Bryde’s whale had died in a struggle with what I believe is the buoy rope of a commercial crayfishing vessel(edit – apparently octopus traps of a commercial operator). It could also be a snapped anchor rope of a recreational vessel, but those would end up on the ocean floor and I don’t see how a whale could have gotten entangled in it. The buoys of the commercial vessels have been floating near the rocks around Clarence Drive for many months(apparently experimental octopus traps). While the government is clamping down on recreational fishing of crayfish, we see the trawlers enjoying free reign around Rooiels on most months of the year.
Clearly this is a major threat to the whales that visit our coastline and something needs to be done about it. That is apart from the fact that they are depleting the remaining crayfish in False Bay and very likely also littering as we see lots of the remnants of commercial fishing operations wash up on the Kogelbay and Rooiels beaches.
If you know who I can contact to raise the issue, raise awareness and get something done about this, let me know. I’m more than happy to give the images to any conservation organisation if it helps the cause.
This is a tragic situation and one that could have been avoided.
What each and every person can do to make a difference is to stop eating seafood that is not sustainably harvested. This is the result of the demand we create.