This is the heartbreaking moment a giant sperm whale gets caught in a fishing net off the Italian coast.

Coast guard divers and biologists were working today near a tiny Mediterranean island to free the animal.

In a coast guard video, a diver can be seen slicing away some of the nets in the waters surrounding the Aeolian Islands archipelago.

Just days ago, separate images emerged showing a giant sperm whale caught in a fishing net off the Italian coast near a tiny Mediterranean island

This is the heartbreaking moment a giant sperm whale gets caught in a fishing net off the Italian coast

Boaters on Saturday had spotted the struggling sperm whale in that stretch of the Tyrrhenian Sea off Italy’s west coast and contacted the coast guard.

The operation to free the sperm whale was particularly difficult ‘due to its state of agitation’ that didn’t allow for continual intervention near the whale, the coast guard said Sunday.

Three weeks ago, the Italian coast guard freed another sperm whale ensnared in a fishing net, also in the sea off the Aeolian Islands.

Boaters on Saturday had spotted the struggling sperm whale in that stretch of the Tyrrhenian Sea off Italy's west coast and contacted the coast guard.

Coast guard divers and biologists were working today near a tiny Mediterranean island to free the animal

The operation to free the sperm whale off Italy over the weekend was particularly difficult 'due to its state of agitation' that didn't allow for continual intervention near the whale

The operation to free the sperm whale was particularly difficult ‘due to its state of agitation’ that didn’t allow for continual intervention near the whale

Since the start of the year, the coast guard has sequestered illegal fishing nets totaling more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) in length.

The coast guard says it has stepped up its efforts this year to combat illegal fishing.

‘Bycatch’ is the term given to the accidental capture of marine life in fishing gear.

It is a global issue, affecting many different species including seals, turtles, and sea birds.

It’s estimated that at least 300,000 cetaceans (aquatic mammals) are caught in this way every year, according to The International Whaling Commission.

By Diamond