The fishing industry should not be blamed for seabirds becoming entangled in old nets, a former fisherman has insisted.
Darron Smith has spoken after more disturbing images were released of gannets being caught in old fishing gear.
The Mousa boat operator had to free four gannets on Sunday morning when he came across them at the Noss Nature Reserve during a chartered trip.
It comes after the crew of the Lerwick lifeboat had to free a gannet last week in what was – up until that point – a routine exercise.
Mr Smith said the latest incident on Sunday could have led to a “horrible” death for the birds involved.
But he said it was wrong to point the finger at fishermen.
He said there were various reasons why the net would have been adrift which would have been beyond the control of fishing crews.
“I was a fisherman years ago, and fishermen are very responsible in taking care not to dump old nets at sea.
“It’s very unfortunate, but you can’t say somebody dumped it. It could be the nets have snagged on the bottom. There could be a wreck and they’ve torn their net, and the net has come clear.”It’s not his fault if he’s lost a bit of his net. You can’t say that’s the fault of the fisherman.”
More in Friday’s print edition of The Shetland Times.