More seabirds entangled but fishing industry not always to blame, says tour guide

The fishing industry should not be blamed for seabirds becoming entangled in old nets, a former fisherman has insisted.

Darron Smith cuts free a gannet. Photo: Tim Stenton

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.


Add Your Comment
  • john johnston

    • June 4th, 2018 16:03

    as an ex fisherman i can put my take on the senario ….gear lost at sea whether it be by vessel loss or snagged on the bottom or wreck and winter storms as in static gear …fishrmen cant forsee the outcome of a fishing trip or weather

  • David Spence

    • June 5th, 2018 22:04

    I would be more concerned with the massive amount of plastic in the oceans, especially plastic shopping bags.

    I was reading an article where a whale died with over 80 plastic bags taken out of its stomach.

    It is not just plastic though, the oceans are becoming more acidic due to industrial waste being pumped into the oceans.

    The oceans are also becoming slightly warmer, affecting many species of fish on migration roots or having to go deeper in depth, which directly affects birds, which dive, dependent on this source of food becoming out of reach.

    It is estimated by the year 2050, the ice at the North Pole will be completely gone, and this will have a huge impact on sea currents, air streams but most of all, many, many species of life.

    People say climate change is normal, but what is not normal is the speed in which it is happening, this is directly caused by human activity and nothing else.

  • Haydn Gear

    • June 6th, 2018 12:47

    The misuse of plastic is a hazard to wildlife as everyone knows. It’s manufacture uses up valuable natural resources but this is a result of human exploitation. This begs the question, why are humans capable of natural behaviour and unnatural behaviour in what seems to be equal measure? Is it normal and natural to drive cars, fly in ‘planes, build tower blocks, dig for coal, aim to fly to distant planet ? The list is endless. According to the experts, global warming and ice ages have occurred many times and certainly before life as we know it existed. We are worried about what are threats to our welfare only because it is a seemingly an alien threat . Surely, if we are able to stand outside ourselves, we are now caught up in a “ normal” event. And in our short sighted stupidity we are adding to the dangers. But not causing them.I would venture to suggest that long after life has ceased on this planet there will still be episodes of change which will also be natural and normal except there won’t be anyone around to grumble, fret or lead campaigns !!


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