New Zealand sailor Phil Robertson rescues a dolphin from an abandoned fishing line

A sailor helped free a baby dolphin which became entangled in discarded fishing line.   

Phil Robertson was out foil boarding off Kawau Island, on New Zealand‘s North Island, when he came across the dolphin struggling to move through the water.     

‘This lone animal was swimming slowly and erratically, so we drove over to have a closer look,’ Mr Robertson posted on Instagram alongside a video of the encounter. 

Mr Robertson’s interest in the dolphin was piqued as he said they were not usually found in shallow enclosed bays such as where he was boarding. 

A baby dolphin was discovered entangled in fishing nylon off New Zealand's North Island on Sunday after it was seen to be swimming 'slowly and erratically'

A baby dolphin was discovered entangled in fishing nylon off New Zealand’s North Island on Sunday after it was seen to be swimming ‘slowly and erratically’  

‘It’s unusual to find individual common dolphins like this, as they are very social animals, usually found in pods of 10+ animals and sometimes super pods of over a thousand,’ he said.  

Mr Robertson, who was accompanied by underwater photographer Steve Hathaway during the encounter on Sunday, said on closer inspection it was revealed the juvenile dolphin had fishing nylon wrapped around its tail.   

‘We confirmed it was dragging a tangled mess of fishing nylon around its tail and was obviously tired and struggling, so Steve devised a plan to rescue it, as it would 100 per cent die if left it as it was,’ he said. 

Mr Robertson said once the dolphin was cut-free from the nylon, it ‘swam off rapidly’ but ‘there was already a deep fresh cut at the base of the dorsal from the nylon’.

He was unsure if the dolphin was able to survive the ordeal.  

‘We’re not sure if this animal will survive but it definitely has a lot higher chance than if it was still attached to the nylon,’ he said. 

Sailor Phil Robertson was out foil boarding with underwater photographer Steve Hathaway when the dolphin was discovered off Kawau Island, on New Zealand's North Island

Sailor Phil Robertson was out foil boarding with underwater photographer Steve Hathaway when the dolphin was discovered off Kawau Island, on New Zealand’s North Island 

A plan was devised to rescue the dolphin and free it from the fishing nylon to allow for the best chance of survival

A plan was devised to rescue the dolphin and free it from the fishing nylon to allow for the best chance of survival   

Mr Robertson said the entanglement was a reminder to keep the ocean free of abandoned fishing line. 

‘This is one of many reasons why we should never discard fishing nylon in the ocean,’ he said.

‘Just because it’s out of sight and out of our minds doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have an impact on something else.’

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