A 25ft humpback whale is currently entangled in creel lines near Vidlin in the Shetland Isles. Rescue efforts are being planned but due to unpredictable weather the rescue has been postponed. For the time being, the potential rescuers are waiting for calmer seas before attempting to release the whale. Experts in the United States have been contacted who said the whale could survive for two to three weeks.
Humpback whales seasonally migrate through U.K waters and are relatively common around the Shetland Isles. Entanglement is the most common cause of mortality for humpbacks in the U.K. The last documented entanglement in Scotland occurred in May 2008. Lucky this particular whale was rescued and survived.
Whale entanglement is a significant issue with fishing ropes now covering thousands of miles of the country’s coast. There is approximately 4500 miles of creel fishing line in Scottish waters. It is predicted that 50% of all whale strandings in Scotland are due to entanglement.