Australian Large Whale Disentanglement Network

Type I whale disentanglement buoy
Type I whale disentanglement buoy (Photo: Eric King)
Type II whale disentanglement buoy

As some whale populations recover from past industrial whaling, more whales will inhabit marine areas that humans use for recreation and commercial purposes. Unfortunately this can lead to an increase in the number of whales entangled each year in fishing gear and marine debris.

The Australian Large Whale Disentanglement Network is a collaborative group of people and agencies involved in freeing large whales from entanglements. The Network brings together skilled personnel and interested parties, primarily from State government agencies but also from international organisations. The Australian Large Whale Disentanglement Network is co-ordinated by Doug Coughran; Doug is the principal whale rescue officer of Western Australia's Department of Environment and Conservation, and is Australia’s leading expert in large whale disentanglements.

To assist the Australian Large Whale Disentanglement Network, the AMMC has developed a telemetry buoy to help State agencies relocate whales entangled in fishing gear and marine debris. The telemetry buoy can be attached to debris trailing from a whale and tracked by satellite and VHF radio.

Once deployed, the telemetry buoy is designed to allow operational personnel to track an entangled whale if conditions are not ideal to attempt an immediate disentanglement response, such as during poor weather or light. The telemetry buoy can also be deployed to allow time for a disentanglement strategy to be developed or if there are multiple incidents at the same time.

The AMMC coordinate the manufacture and distribution of telemetry buoys and their associated transmitters. See details of the Network's telemetry buoys and their associated satellite and VHF transmitter information (to view the contact details for Responsible Officers login using the Network’s confidential Argos account details). The AMMC also co-ordinate the acquisition and use of satellite tracking data returned from the buoys.

Verified users of the telemetry buoys can be reminded of the Network's confidential Argos account details by emailing us.

Resources that may be useful for the Australian Large Whale Disentanglement Network include:

This page was last modified on August 28, 2015.