For ages now, the Italian Coast Guard has been hauling so-called ghost nets out of the ocean.
That’s fishing gear that has been dumped in the water only to become waste that can ensnare fish and sea mammals leaving them to struggle and die.
The scale of the problem became clear this week as the coast guard shared a video of divers working to free a sperm whale ensnared in old fishing net off the Aeolian Islands.
The astonishing video posted on Facebook after the coast guard said someone spotted the troubled whale on the weekend.
The whale was first spotted by onlookers on Saturday, the Italian Coast Guard said in Facebook post.
In the video, divers can bee seen in the video cutting at the pink strings which had trapped the whale.
“The activity is made particularly difficult by the size of the specimen and its state of agitation, which does not allow continuous assistance to be provided in safety,” the coast guard explained in its Facebook post.
Biologists were also on scene to help free the whale.
What’s worse, the coast guard said it illegal fishing of sperm whales has been on the rise this year.
Just three weeks ago, the officials were here after another sperm whale was caught in a net and later freed.
And here’s a sea turtle, also recently saved after being twisted in fishing line.
Since January, the coasts guard said more than 100 kilometres of fishing nets have been seized in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy.