DOC calls off rescue of humpback whale found tangled in ropes off Northland

The Department of Conservation has called off the rescue of an adult humpback whale which became entangled in ropes near Cape Brett, Northland, this afternoon.

Rescue efforts will begin again at first light tomorrow.

The distressed whale was found tangled in what is believed to be from a crayfish pot and was reported to the Department of Conservation (DOC) by a passenger on board a Fullers Great Sights Tour Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise around lunchtime.

"It's not unusual for humpback whales to become entangled in rope because they’re inquisitive," a DOC spokesperson said.

The rope appears to have wound around the whale's snout, making it difficult to cut, the spokesperson added. 

Whale Rescue co-founder Jo 'Floppy' Halliday says the whale was on the surface and attempting to catch its breath whenever it could.

This is not the first time a whale has become entangled in ropes from a crayfish pot in Northland. Last time the ropes were cut and the whale survived.