Fishing Line Entangles and Endangers California Marine Life

We hope that Last January’s Neptune 911’s first-ever post, which was about the nightmare that tossed fishing line brings to our marine life ( has brought mindfulness to some readers.  But the latest news from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, demonstrates that this issue is real and continues.

Last Sunday on the Piedras Blancas bluffs, a pregnant elephant seal had a wicked scar around her neck.  I checked through my binoculars and it was nothing but a scar—a deep cut from trash of some sort that we humans toss into the sea—you know—that bin of trash that doesn’t relate to you or I. Fortunately her “choker” broke off.  But that’s the exception, not the norm. 

Here’s today’s Marine Mammal Center Release…

T he Marine Mammal Center continues to search for three California sea lions in San Francisco Bay that have entanglements around their necks. On the night of Jan. 1, a large sea lion that was entangled in fishing line was spotted on one of PIER 39s floating docks. Rescuers from the Center went out to the Pier but could not perform a rescue at that time due to nighttime conditions that were unsafe for both the injured animal and rescuers. In these cases, rescuers often only get one chance to safely net the animal and transport it back to land, so they perform rescues when it’s most optimal in order to ensure a successful and safe rescue and transport of the animal to the Center’s hospital in Sausalito. The Center will continue to keep watch for these animals and to respond to other marine mammals in distress within its 600 mile rescue range.

On Saturday morning – taking advantage of daylight – the team returned to the pier but the sea lion was gone. Volunteer Marjorie Boor patrolled the Bay Area waters via boat for hours to look for the animal – but did not spot it.

Subsequently that day, another sea lion appeared at Hyde Street Pier with an entanglement. The Marine Mammal Center’s water rescue team attempted two rescues of that animal, but upon the second try – the animal jumped off the dock and swam away. This animal and yet another sea lion appeared on Sunday. The third sea lion was spotted on a buoy near Belvedere. and the Hyde Street Pier sea lion appeared again at that pier. Rescue attempts were mounted for both of those animals, but both eluded rescuers. The Center will continue to keep watch for these animals and to respond to other marine mammals in distress within its 600 mile rescue range.

Sadly, about 8 percent of the patients rescued by The Marine Mammal Center in 2009 were rescued as a result of becoming entangled in fishing line, nets and other marine debris, causing them to strand. It is an all-too-common occurrence. You can help keep waterways clear of debris and other trash that can be harmful to seals, sea lions and other marine mammals. Learn how here at Save Our Seals – Save Ourselves.

Categories: Fishing Lines, Marine Mammal Rescue, nature

Tags: , , , ,

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