Update on Deceased Fin Whale in the Firth of Forth

Publish Date: Tuesday January 30, 2024

Update on Deceased Fin Whale in the Firth of Forth

After consultation with community representatives, stakeholders and partners, a decision has been made not to recover the deceased Fin whale that is lying 700 metres west of Culross in the Firth of Forth.

The whale carcass will be left in its current location to naturally decompose. This will enrich the coastal environment with nutrients and provide an important food source for wildlife during the winter period.

The dead and decomposing 17 metre long Fin whale was washed ashore on the evening of 24th January.

Robbie Blyth, Head of Operations at Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT), who coordinate cetacean strandings on the Fife coast, explained: “When possible, biologists and veterinarians from the Scottish Marine Stranding Scheme examine a carcass and conduct a necropsy to try to learn why the mammal may have died. On this occasion the whale had already started to putrefy and was not suitable for investigation.

Challenge

“This is one of the reasons we have decided not to recover the carcass. Also, its location – at the foot of the railway embankment coastal defences – would have presented a challenge in recovering it. The location is relatively inaccessible to beach users and dog walkers and we believe that leaving it in situ causes the least disruption to locals and visitors.

“The decision not to recover the carcass has been made after full consultation with key stakeholders and partners including Fife Council, community representatives, Network Rail, Forth Ports, Forth Estuary Forum, NatureScot, SEPA, and Marine Scotland.”

The carcass will be monitored by FCCT wardens. Members of the public are advised not to access the shoreline.

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