Renewed hope for entangled whale in the Forth

A fresh sighting of an entangled humpback whale in the Forth has brought renewed hope that the mammal can be helped.

Humpback whale in the Firth of Forth entangled in a bouy. (Pic Ronnie Mackie).
Humpback whale in the Firth of Forth entangled in a bouy. (Pic Ronnie Mackie).

A fishing boat crew alerted animal welfare groups on Tuesday following a confirmed sighting of the whale, which is entangled in a buoy, after it surfaced in waters off the southern shore of the Forth.

Having first been spotted at the beginning of March but with no new sightings for three weeks until now, fears were growing that the whale had either died or headed out to sea still hindered by the entanglement.

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Paul Smith, area co-ordinator for Tayside, Fife and Stirlingshire for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) welcomed the news that the humpback whale was still alive but added that the efforts needed to help it remained “extremely challenging”.

“The good news is that this fresh sighting suggests the whale is still swimming and diving and most crucially, feeding.

“However, with the the whale having been spotted from Crail right down to Aberdour, that makes finding the whale like searching for a needle in a haystack, with the added disadvantage that we ave to wait for the humpback to surface too.

“The sighting has also broken the pattern that we have witnessed over the last two or three years and humpbacks tend only to visit the Forth in the cold months of December to February and are usually away by now.”

Mr Smith has now renewed his appeal for the public to look out for the whale and to report any sightings without delay.

“We need the public’s help so we are asking anyone who spots the whale to contact us immediately with a location, direction in which it was heading and whether the tide was on the way in or out.”

To report a sighting contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546.