The body of a massive tuna fish was washed up on a beach in the Orkney Isles following powerful storms this weekend.
The sad sight caused a stir on Sanday island but fisherman were buoyed by further evidence the magnificent species is making a return to British waters.
The body of the fish – one of the world’s largest and fastest, according to National Geographic – was estimated to be about six and a half feet long.
‘It was … a pretty impressive beast. At that size, it’s going to be pretty fully grown,’ Emma Neave-Webb, a local ranger, said on Monday. ‘The fish looked pretty fresh, so I think the cause of death was natural causes.’
Ms Neave-Webb said: ‘Everybody’s been amazed, it was a bit of a tourist attraction.
‘It’s been the talk of the island for the day, but we’re hoping to go back … to weigh it and dissect it for any signs of plastic pollution.’
It’s not the first time a giant Atlantic bluefin has been spotted in the country.
‘It’s the third case of a bluefin tuna washing up in Scottish waters this year,’ John Hourston, founder of volunteer group Blue Planet Society, said.
‘Bluefin tuna have only recently returned to British waters since around 2013, but it’s extremely rare for one to be washed up in Orkney.’
One of the most recent sightings of the rare fish was in October.
At that time, a 6-foot-long Atlantic bluefin washed up in Fife, weighing around 245 pounds, The Scotsman reported.
While locals admitted it was a sad discovery, some fish experts were hopeful it was a sign the fish was making a comeback in the area.
‘It’s sad this one has washed up dead but hopefully this is a sign that they are making a return as there have been a number of sightings in the North Sea and off the west coast of Scotland,’ Jonathan Louis, operations and development manager for the Forth Rivers Trust, told the Scottish newspaper.