Western Isles Tourism 0fficer Donald MacDonald bemoaned the news that a pod of pilot whales ,previously stranded in a loch in South Uist, has started to head for open water.
The whales had been close to beaching in Loch Carnan after becoming disorientated off the coastline on Thursday but MacDonald greeted the news of their departure by commenting that this is a "disaster" for the Islands.
"While I would not wish any harm on the mammals, their stay had brought thousands of visitors flocking to the area and the local economy had been boosted by the trade.
"Sales of anoraks, binoculars and vacuum flasks have gone through the roof".
Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead would not confirm reports that his department is investigating claims that individuals were seen trying to erect a large net across the mouth of the loch the evening before the whales left the area.