Whale washes up on Scottish beach entangled in fishing gear

The whale has come ashore on the north Caithness coast.
The whale has come ashore on the north Caithness coast.
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A dead whale has washed up on the Caithness coast entangled in fishing gear.

It came ashore close to Scrabster, near Thurso.

Fishing gear can be seen wrapped around the animal.

Fishing gear can be seen wrapped around the animal.

The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) is to investigate the animal's death.

It is the latest incident of its kind in about a month with photographer Gavin Bird, who is based in Caithness, capturing the latest fatality.

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Fishing gear, including a buoyancy aid and a piece of rope, can be seen wrapped around the animal.

Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme is investigating the whale's death.

Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme is investigating the whale's death.

SMASS said entanglement in fishing gear is a global problem.

Scottish waters offer a world-class fishing ground for creel and trawl fishermen as well as a habitat for a diverse range of large marine animals, the organisation said.

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It added: "Unfortunately these animals sometimes become entangled in fishing gear, and the consequences of these interactions can have conservation, welfare and economic implications.

The organisation said that entanglement in fishing gear was the main cause of death of minke whales in Scotland.

The organisation said that entanglement in fishing gear was the main cause of death of minke whales in Scotland.

"Entanglements can impair an animal’s ability to breath, feed, swim and reproduce, and have been recognised as the main cause of death of minke whales in Scottish waters.

"Other species including orca, humpback and northern bottlenose whales have also died in our waters as a result of interactions with fishing gear."