By John Kinsman, station manager at Coastwatch St Monans, east Fife. Featured image shows Pettycar Bay, Kinghorn, Fife.
Sad ending for whale calf
Rescuers hoping to return a whale calf stranded on a Fife beach had to euthanase it instead. The young minke was spotted trapped on the sands on Pettycur Bay at high tide on the afternoon of March 15th. Coastguards officers and a team from British Divers Marine Life Rescue rushed to the beach between Kinghorn and Burntisland, with the hope of refloating the mammal.
However, separated from its mother the young female’s chance of survival were deemed low. Medics from the rescue group tended to the animal but with high tide still several hours away they announced shortly after noon that the decision had been made to put it down.
Mr McFadden of BDMLR said, “The 12 foot whale was less than a year old and was reported by a member of the public at around 7.30am. It was a very young minke, she was in very good condition but what was concerning was the size. If they are too young they are unable to fed for themselves. If you put them back into the water you get a starving animal stranding again a few days later.”
The BDMLR consulted the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme and it was agreed that the whale was too young to be refloated. Adult minke whales grow to about 30 Ft.
Coastwatch St Monans station had a busy month with a few incidents. One involved a group of kayakers reported to be in trouble after firing flares off Elie Ness. After searches it was discovered the kayakers were on a training exercise and had fired the flares without informing HM Coastguards. In another incident a fishing vessel was reported in difficulty with engine trouble a few miles off Coastwatch St Monans station but all was okay. A kite surfer was rescued and taken ashore by the RNLI lifeboat. He was cold but unhurt. Also Coastwatch St Monans took delivery of two new fixed marine radios for its station.
Fishing sector faces storm
Potential losses to the £316 million Scottish fishing industry have been described as terrifying by industry leaders. Until the Monday 23rd March announcements of tighter business and travel restrictions, trade at Scotland’s fish markets had been building up with individual traders travelling from larger cities to by samples.
According to one wholesaler in the north east, boats have been discouraged from going out to sea. He said the boats have been well organised. For now supermarkets are still getting supplies and because the landings have been low they have been able to keep prices up. The prices have dropped and if they drop too far then the boats may stop fishing.
On Wednesday March 25th the Scottish government announced the fishing and seafood industry will receive £5 million in support targeted towards 650 companies including onshore processing firms.