Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Humpback whale’s death by entanglement ‘particularly grim’

The death of a humpback whale which was entangled in fishing gear has prompted a call for action by a marine wildlife expert.

The huge animal spent its final agonising days in the Firth of Forth, with rope cutting into its blubber and riddled with parasites, before its carcass was washed up on an East Lothian beach.

Dr Andrew Brownlow, of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, said the 30ft long male would have been entangled for weeks if not months, leaving it unable to feed properly.

He said urgent discussion was vital to prevent more marine life suffering as a result of human activity.

The veterinary pathologist’s post mortem found chronic lacerations with severe infection and a very high parasite burden in the whale which drowned either through exhaustion or further entanglement.

The emaciated year-old whale was first spotted from Kinghorn at the end of February with the gear dragging behind it.

Volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue hoped they may be able to release the mammal, but were unable to locate it and get close enough.

Dr Brownlow said: “We deal with a lot of cases like this, but this one was particularly grim.

“We could see that this animal had suffered for a long time.”

He said it was important not to blame fishermen for such tragedies, and that marine life was at risk from humans in many ways, including pollution.

He said: “The thing we can probably take from this is that the population of these really big whales is perhaps recovering in Scottish waters.

“There’s been a moratorium on whaling since the mid-1980s. Thirty years on we are seeing these animals coming back into our waters, which are common by ecological history but not in our collective memory.

“This presents some other challenges. Although we are not going out and deliberately trying to kill these animals we are making the oceans a more hazardous place for them in a number of ways, from pollution to interaction with fishing and noise.”

In this case, he said the issues seemed to have arisen as a result of the interaction between fishing, most likely creel fishing, and animals.

“There needs to be a discussion about how we try to address this,” he added.

“It doesn’t help saying it’s all the fishermen’s fault. They don’t want to entangle whales any more than anyone else does.”

He said the next stage would be work by the Scottish Entanglement Alliance, which includes the SMASS, rescue charities, the fishing industry and NGOs, to look at the fishing gear involved and learn lessons.

After being found drowned on a beach near Tyninghame on Tuesday, the carcass was towed out to sea and moved to a Dunbar beach for a five-hour examination on Wednesday.

It was later removed for incineration by East Lothian Council.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]