Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Warning against approaching breaching whale in Firth of Forth

Humpback whale Image copyright Allan Brown / SWNS.com

People who have been flocking to Fife to see a whale which has been breaching in the Firth of Forth are being warned from "making any attempts to approach or actively pursue" it.

The humpback has been seen at Pettycur Bay, Kinghorn in Fife.

Humpback sightings are not uncommon in Scotland, but a large whale so far up the Forth estuary is a lot more unusual.

Police Scotland is warning boat owners to keep a safe distance from the whale.

Image copyright Allan Brown / SWNS.com

Lindsay Kerr, Police Scotland wildlife liaison officer, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for wildlife watchers and marine tourism but it is essential that the health and well-being of the animals is considered at all times.

"The Forth estuary is subject to large tidal changes and any disturbance to the visiting whale could cause significant risk of it becoming distressed and moving further into shallow water and then becoming stranded by a rapidly outgoing tide.

"Legislation is in place to protect these marine mammals. Please enjoy this wonderful occurrence but do show respect to the whales and be aware of the protection afforded to them.

"I recommend boat and vessel owners follow the Wildlife Safe (WiSe) scheme. In this particular case, commercial and recreational users should not make any attempts to approach or actively pursue the whale.

"The scheme, which is a UK standard for commercial marine wildlife watching, includes a code of conduct and sets out best practice for wildlife watching."

Endangered species such as dolphins, porpoises and whales are protected by wildlife legislation including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Under the Act, it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb them.

Image copyright Allan Brown / SWNS.com
Image copyright Allan Brown / SWNS.com
Image copyright Allan Brown / SWNS.com
Image copyright Allan Brown / SWNS.com

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