Fishing gear doesn’t just pose a threat to intentionally caught fish, but to all ocean life that might swim by. These accidentally killed (except for the fact that the longlines and nets, etc. were purposely used…) animals are known to the fishing industry as “by-catch.” World Wildlife Fund reports, “With over 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises dying each year from entanglement in fishing gears, bycatch is causing one death every two minutes.” That staggering number doesn’t include other species like turtles, sharks, seals, sea birds and many others.
The good news is that there are some people who are making efforts to save animals who have fallen victim to fishing gear. Really, we have a video!
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) recently posted a YouTube video of their rescue of a seal entangled in buoy line in Cape Cod. The organization reports that this operation wasn’t so easy: “The seal had become so tightly entangled in the line that it struggled to get to the surface to breath[e]. So not only was our mission to disentangle the seal but we had to catch the animal first, not an easy task to accomplish in the middle of a bay.”
The rescue team was able to bring the seal onboard and remove the line, and the prognosis is good news. “We felt as though the entanglement had occurred fairly recently because the line had not started to abrade the skin around the neck. Often times, with animals that have been entangled for months or longer, the line can start to lacerate through the skin and blubber layers which makes disentanglement much more difficult to perform. Once all the gear was successfully removed, and the seal was given a thorough health assessment, we were able to release the seal back into the water gear- free,” IFAW adds.
The organization’s website says their rescue team, based in Cape Cod, provides rapid response for stranded and injured animals from Maine to Virginia, and belongs to the Northeast Regional Stranding Network made up of fourteen organizations.
Check out the video below! Swim free, little seal!