A young sperm whale was found dead by residents on a Scottish island last week had a ball of debris weighing roughly 100kg in its stomach.
Fishing nets, ropes, packing straps, bags and plastic cups were among the items discovered in a compacted mass.
Dan Parry, who lives nearby Luskentyre, said: “It was desperately sad, especially when you saw the fishing nets and debris that came out of its stomach.”
However, the cause of death is yet to be determined by whale experts. The organization handling this case are members of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) which stated on their Facebook: “The animal wasn’t in particularly poor condition, and whilst it is certainly plausible that this amount of debris was a factor in its live stranding, we actually couldn’t find evidence that this had impacted or obstructed the intestines. This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific.”
The estimate is that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic alone are discarded into the oceans every year. Upset residents have pointed out that marine pollution seems to be a disheartening fact of life, but one worth striving against as one resident talked about a daily cleanup routine. The first workshop of its kind in Europe between Scottish inshore creel fisherman and the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA) took place less than two months ago with the goal of reducing animal deaths related to the fishing industry. SEA is funded by the University of Innovation Fund by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
The Coastguard and Western Isles Council aided with the examination of the whale on Saturday, as well as digging a giant hole on the beach in which to bury him.