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Hunt on for Qld dolphin wrapped in netting

AAP logoAAP 18/10/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Marine scientists are searching for a baby humpback dolphin that was spotted off far north Queensland with netting tightly wrapped around its neck.

The calf was seen with its mother in waters off Cairns twice since the end of September, but James Cook University's Isabel Beasley has unsuccessfully looked for it for over the last week.

Dr Beasley said the two looked healthy but feared the netting would not break down any time soon.

"It's important anyone who sees this calf reports it to the RSPCA hotline," she said.

"During my recent survey work in the Cairns region I have unfortunately seen large amounts of litter in the water which can be fatal to marine creatures."

WWF Australia spokesman Darren Grover said the case was a prime example of the impact of rubbish on marine life.

"That netting will ultimately cause the calf's death as it cuts deeper and deeper into the tissue," he said.

In April a Senate committee report on plastic pollution cited estimates that more than 50 per cent of the world's sea turtles had ingested marine debris and 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic by 2050.

The report said macroplastics, including lost fishing gear, were the main contributors to entanglements.

The graphic injuries suffered by marine animals that become entangled include loss of limbs, scoliosis and infection.

The committee was given evidence of entanglements that killed and maimed dolphins, seabirds, turtles, whales, dugongs, sea snakes, sharks, fish, crabs and crocodiles.

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