Whale washed up on Northumberland coast is likely to have died after becoming tangled in fishing line

A humpback whale which has been found dead on the Northumberland coast is likely to have died after becoming tangled up in a fishing line.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 6:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 2:59 pm
A photo shared by Howick Coastguard Rescue Team of the whale's remains.

Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) has been among the organisations working together following the discovery of the male whale, found dead stranded near to Dunstanburgh Castle at the weekend.

The Howick Coastguard Team issued a warning for people to stay away due to the health hazard posed by the decomposing remains of the marine mammal.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) was called in to help monitor the cordon, while the Zoological Society of London has also been involved in inquiries.

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The whale poses a health hazard to people. Photo by Howick Coastguard Rescue Team.

Measurements and photographs have been taken by the Coastguard officers to pass on to the Natural History Museum.

Today, the CSIP has said it had been to the site and believes it has found the reason why it got into trouble.

It may have got caught up in a line used to link up creels, which are baskets used in fishing.

A spokesperson said: “Although it was not possible to fully examine the whale, there was clear evidence of entanglement on the ventral tail flukes and tailstock, likely consistent with entanglement in a creel line.

The dead male humpback whale was found stranded on the coast near Dunstaburgh at the weekend. Photo by Howick Coastguard Team.

“This is probably the same individual reported entangled and floating dead in Whitley Bay last week.

“Four humpback whales have been reported to the CSIP this year, three of which have involved cases of entanglement.”

The Coastguard has said the whale is partially decomposed and chemicals such as putrescine and cadaverine, which are foul-smelling and are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in living and dead organisms, can leak out and stick to people body,

Harmful bacteria will be present which can cause serious illness, while whales can also carry up to 7,500 whale lice, which can look for a new host.

Humpback whales can be between 38ft and 50ft and can weigh between 23 and 40 metric tons.

They feed on young schooling fish such as sandeels, herring and mackerel and can often be seen lunge feeding.

The Coastguard has said the remains would be moved at the earliest opportunity.