GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Monday 27 May 2024
 12.5°C   SE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Police involved amid warning to boat owners not to get too close to killer whales

A bull orca off Hillswick late last week. Photo: Shetland Wildlife.

INQUIRIES are being made by police in Shetland after two reports were received about boats travelling close to pods of orcas earlier this week.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has also issued a reminder to islanders that harassing cetaceans, which are protected by law, is an offence.

A number of killer whales have been spotted in the isles this week, leading to a host of people following their movements.

Some locals, however, have taken to the water in boats to see them and concerns have been raised by the public about such behaviour.

Police confirmed that the first report was received on Monday, with a second coming in on Tuesday relating to a boat off Burra. Inquiries are under way to establish the circumstances.

“On a wider note I would like to take the opportunity to encourage people to be considerate of others when viewing wildlife in Shetland,” inspector Dave King added.

“Orcas are a fairly regular sight at this time of year and it is completely understandable that people want to get a good view of them.

“There has been some concern about parking issues and driving standards and I would urge people to consider the safety of themselves and other road users if they are parking or slowing down to get a view of the orcas.

“Similarly if people are out on the water or at cliff edges then they should be considerate of the animals themselves while also ensuring they do not put themselves into any difficulty.”

SNH policy and advice officer Karen Hall advised locals to check the Scottish marine wildlife watching code for how to observe orcas safely.

“Over the last few days, Scottish Natural Heritage has been made aware of several boats perceived to be disturbing or harassing cetaceans,” she said.

“We would like to remind everyone that all whales, dolphins and porpoise are heavily protected and that it is an offence ‘to deliberately or recklessly disturb or harass any cetacean’.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“All concerns are followed up and will be passed to the police as necessary. Police Scotland have been informed of recent events and are currently investigating.”

Hall said people should contact SNH for advice about the legislation protecting marine animals, while any incidents should be reported to Police Scotland on 101.

Updates about the movements of killer whales are regularly posted on the Shetland Orca Sightings Facebook group, which has nearly 9,000 members.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.