Plastic bag found in the stomach of sperm whale which washed up on Northumberland beach

Plastic pollution has hit Northumberland firsthand as plastic bag was found in the stomach of the Sperm whale that was left stranded on the beach.

On Friday, October 11 a Sperm whale was spotted in shallow waters more that 400km from it’s natural habitat. Although the creature was observed by volunteer medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, it sadly died after it became stranded on Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

On Tuesday, October 15 in preparation for the whale’s body to be removed from the beach, and autopsy and test samples were taken by Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme (CSIP).

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During the examination of the stomach, the CSIP found shrimp breaks which are common for Sperm whales to feed on but they also found a large plastic bag.

The body of the Sperm Whale washes up at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.The body of the Sperm Whale washes up at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.
The body of the Sperm Whale washes up at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

In a post on Facebook the Newbiggin Coastguard said: “While it is not believed that the plastic bag is the cause for the whales death – the incident has shown many the first hand damage that plastic has on ocean wildlife.

“Plastic is increasingly dangerous to marine life – plastic debris can be easily eaten or digested and animals can become entangled in it. Plastic can also be found in the stomach long after death. An overwhelming amount of plastic isn’t even visible to the human eye with most plastic pollution occurring out at sea.”

Newbiggin Coastguard Rescue Team, Amble, Howick and Blyth Coastguard Rescue Teams and Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were also involved in the aid and removal of the whale.