Humpback whale makes rare appearance in Firth of Forth

A specialist team was called in amid reports the mammal was tangled in a net.

A young humpback whale has made a rare appearance in the Forth estuary off the Fife coast.

Members of the public raised the alarm after noticing the large mammal in the water near Kinghorn.

A specialist team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity was called in to take a closer look amid concerns the whale had become tangled in a fishing net.

Paul Smith, BDMLR Fife coordinator, said: “We’re not too keen on having such a large animal in the estuary. It might beach and you have the risk of human interaction.


“We had a possible report that it may have been entangled in fishing gear. We went out to assess it – if it was, we would have intervened. We took the rescue rib and got up close and personal with it.”

He said there was no sign of the whale, which is believed to be male, being in any difficulty and it appeared to be in good health.

Monday’s sighting comes after two humpbacks were spotted off the coast of Aberdeen last summer.

The pair were more recently spotted off Burghead and Hopeman on the Moray coast.


Police constable Lindsay Kerr, Fife’s wildlife crime officer, urged anyone interested in getting a glimpse of the unusual visitor to the Forth to keep watch from the shore.

She said: “Please do not attempt to track or disturb the whale using boats or drones, as this could drive it inshore and cause injury.

“The whale is a heavily protected species and any approach or disturbance could breach wildlife protection laws.”

If the whale is seen very close to the shore and is possibly in difficulty or distress, members of the public are encouraged to contact the BDMLR.

The charity’s rescue hotline is available on 01825 765546 during office hours or on 07787433412 for out-of-hours reports.

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