A marine expert has renewed calls to review the use of shark nets off Gold Coast beaches after a young whale became trapped.
The exhausted humpback calf was freed by a rescue team mid-morning on Thursday after struggling for hours in the net off Kirra beach.
Sea World director of marine sciences Trevor Long said the calf, about five to eight years old, probably became stuck the previous evening.
“By the time we arrived in the morning, it was very tired and very, very sore,” he told AAP.
“It actually worked in our favour.
“The animal was calm during the rescue and we were able to work fairly close to the animal and slowly cut the nets free.”
Using special knives, the rescue team took 90 minutes to release the struggling mammal after being alerted to its plight by beach walkers.
The whale, which has been independent for some years, suffered muscle and tail damage but was able to swim away, Mr Long said.
However, a baby whale that became trapped off a southern Gold Coast beach on Sunday was not so lucky.
Mr Long said the newborn hit the bottom of a shark net, was unable to free itself and drowned.
He said many inexperienced mammals ran into trouble on their first southern migration because they did not know where the “traps” were.
“We’ve got about 20,000 animals on the east coast of Australia now, so certainly we would like to see some review of the shark nets,” Mr Long said.
“Maybe the shark nets are removed during the whale season in winter because the beaches are not as popular because it’s cold.”
Mr Long said drum lines could be used to protect bathers instead.