Last year, Cornwall Seal Group posted a video of a seal entangled in a trawler net, showing the impacts of litter on wildlife. The video – which you can see at Pirate FM here – inspired action against litter to prevent similar occurrences in future.
“In a project run by the Cornwall Seal Group aiming to record ghost gear on Cornish beaches and floating at sea, between November 2014 and October 2015, an estimated 50 tonnes of lost fishing gear was recorded.
On average, 26% of this was considered to pose a serious threat of interaction and entanglement to marine life – with at least 52 creatures found entangled.
It included grey seals, cormorants, herring gulls, gannets, guillemots, shags, edible crabs, spider crabs, bass, catsharks, mussels and pink sea fans.”
More recently, a humpback whale known as Doris has been breaching off the coast of Falmouth Bay in Cornwall. Little did many onlookers know that Doris is another case of wildlife needing rescuing due to marine litter. According to the Telegraph, Keith Leeves, leader of AK Wildlife Cruises in Falmouth, said:
“We know it’s the same whale that got herself entangled in nets in Devon because we could see rope burn marks on her.”
The whale was freed from whelk pot lines after a three hour rescue to prevent her drowning from exhaustion by the RNLI, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and local fishermen off the South Devon Coast.
She breached a total of 25 times for guests on the AK Wildlife Cruise. Leeves commented on the encounter:
“Doris safely passed through our waters and gave everyone onboard something truly special, magical and incredibly exciting memories which will no doubt stay with us all forever.
“Long may these truly beautiful, charismatic and endearing humpback whale swim and return yearly to our Cornish and Devon coastal seas.”
Read the original report on Cornwall Seal Group’s appeal here, and the original article on the recent encounter with Doris the whale here.