The use of gill and trawl nets is common in the commercial fishing industry. Dragging massive, heavy nets along the bottom of the ocean, collecting literally everything in their path, these nets are responsible for a tremendous amount of  damage to marine species. Nearly 650,000 marine mammals are injured every year thanks to the reckless practices of commercial fisheries. Because nets do not discriminate between target fish and everything else that “gets in the way,” bycatch totals are off the charts – 90 percent of the ocean’s apex predators have been wiped out in the past 55 years.

While these statistics are incredibly daunting – as this video shows – there is hope yet for marine mammals who find themselves caught in fishing nets.

This video showcases the wonderful work of one marine conservationist and his family, who managed to save an adolescent Blue Whale from the grips of a commercial gillnet. After struggling for hours to free the whale, once the young mammal was free, she wasted no time in thanking her rescuers. Showcasing her pure jubilation at being freed from the traps of a fishing net, the whale gives her rescuer a gift well-worth the hours of hard work.

If you would like to get involved in protecting whales, without having to dive and free them from nets yourself – check out the Great Whale Conservancy website to learn how you can help from the comfort of your own home.

Image Source: Great Whale Conservancy