The fishing industry hugely contributes to the economy, but recently, concerns were raised. Abandoned fishing gear has already inconvenienced countless marine animals. The ghost gear either turns into microplastics or a threat to the survival of underwater creatures. The Ocean Conservancy has claimed that abandoned fishing equipment is the most harmful type of marine debris. Underwater creatures often find themselves trapped in fishing nets or wounded by hooks. Size doesn’t even matter, because whales are also victims of such human carelessness. Animals are defenseless to equipment made and handled by a human. Marine animals should be free and safe to roam in their environment — not trapped by fishing gear that was never even meant to ensnare them.
Thankfully, some humans are kind-hearted enough to offer help and give time to victims. Fascinatingly, marine animals also sometimes approach humans to ask them to help them in their distress. A sperm whale from the Indian Ocean has actually done that, which showed her intelligence. They are known for having the biggest brain, which surely contains impressive knowledge and wisdom. Due to its intelligence, the sperm whale might have figured out that the diver would undoubtedly help her. The diver she approached was Hugues Vitry, a Mauritian environmentalist and marine photographer. The sperm whale must have sensed that Vitry has a history of saving other whales from fishing equipment.
Vitry did not hesitate to reach out a helping hand after he saw the whale’s mouth forced open by a fishing hook. Its lower jaw was entangled with two ropes — the other end of the rope attached to the sea floor. The situation called for immediate action, as it terribly threatened the whale’s survival. Vitry quickly thought of a way to set the whale free. It wasn’t an easy task, especially when high water pressure surrounded them. Assisted by another diver, the environmentalist worked hard to cut the ropes. He used special scissors in order to snip the equipment without harming the whale. The task required immense focus and care, because the rope was tied around the whales’ teeth.
Aside from the ropes, Vitry successfully removed shackles that also weighed down the whale. Overall, it was a heart-stopping six-minute rescue operation — Vitry gave his all not to be carried away by water pressure. The sperm whale stayed calm, which might have something to do with their connection. Apparently, Vitry has been following the sperm whale for ten years, and he also called her Tache Blanche due to a recognizable mark on her stomach. Perhaps the whale knew that the human has a good heart that won’t neglect or ignore her call for help.
True enough, Vitry successfully removed her from the burdens of fishing gear. The sperm whale freely swam again, and Vitry remained by her side for a while to check if she was completely alright. Before they parted ways, they shared a heartwarming moment that showed how the whale expressed her gratitude. Hugues Vitry is indeed an exemplary citizen — swiftly taking action for an animal in need. You can be like him even when you’re away from the ocean. Help save the marine ecosystem from the horrors of ghost gear by spreading awareness through social media platforms. You might be inspired after watching the impressive rescue mission below.