A leading animal charity has pleaded with north-east fishermen to be careful of after harrowing images emerged of a stricken seal wrapped in discarded netting.
The Scottish SPCA were alerted to the marine mammal’s plight near to Peterhead power station last month.
Wire had become wrapped around the seal’s head and was cutting into its skin and it was urgently taken to a veterinarian.
Despite swift treatment, the intervention proved too late and the animal sadly died the next day.
Now the welfare charity is urging those working along the Buchan coastline not to leave behind any litter that might prove fatal to wildlife.
Skipper Jimmy Buchan said the fishing industry was attempting to protect the environment through a project that tackles marine waste.
He said: “Fishermen have been relatively responsible for a number of years.
“We are involved in the Fishing for Little scheme, which means we try and take any discarded stuff from the seabed and we dispose of it responsibly.
“But there are always going to be isolated incidents where netting gets washed overboard or it breaks free from a bit of wreckage and comes up on the shoreline.
“As an industry we are trying to improve our practices and we are trying to do our bit for the natural habitat.”
Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Kyle McWhirr confirmed details of their rescue operation near the power plant.
He said: “The fishing wire had wrapped tightly around the seals neck and cut deep into his skin.
“After a bit of a fight, I managed to get him into my van and took him immediately to the vet to have his deep wound looked at.
“He had his wound cleaned and antibiotics and painkillers were administered but sadly the seal had not been spotted quickly enough and he died from a seizure the following morning.”
Mr McWhirr added: “The vast majority of fishermen are very responsible and take care to clear away their equipment after they’ve used it.
“However we want to remind anyone fishing not to leave their litter as they could kill wildlife by doing so.”
Anyone who finds an injured or distressed wild animal is asked to contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.