How Abandoned Fishing Gear Killing Endangered Animals

How Abandoned Fishing Gear Killing Endangered Animals

In addition to climate change, there’s another problem for ocean animals: ghost gear. Many times in the past, rescuers found endangered whales, sea turtles and several other creatures wrapped up in abandoned fishing gear.

Most recently, an endangeredNorth Atlantic right whale was found dead in Maine. Rescuers say it was a 45-ton creature entangled in dumped gear. Before this, another endangered whale, a blue whale, was found struggling with fishing gear inSouthern California. In a similar incident near Newportearlier this month, rescuers spotted a humpback whaletrying to get rid of the fishing gear.

The West Coast reported record more than 60 cases of whale entanglement last year.This year’s incidences of such kinds have already broken the last year record. As of now, over 60entanglements have been reported.There are several reported and unreported incidents of this kind where an endangered marine animal were seen dealing with these ghost gear.

What are ghost gear and how they end up around sea animals? According to experts, these could be any type offishing gear or trapabandoned at sea. When these thingsare left in water, they entrapanimals like whales, sea turtles, seals and others. Numbers of entanglements are surging due to increased fishing gear in ocean and shifted migratory pattern of animals like whales.

What happens when a whale becomes entangled? Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity said, “The gear is really, really heavy and when a whale comes in contact with it, it thrashes around to shed the gear.Sometimes it can drown the whale immediately, or it can happen over weeks, because they get so tired”.

To eliminate the problem ofentanglement, efforts could be started by removing abandoned fishing gear, but a law in California doesn’t allow so. As per the law,it’s illegal to move any trap or gear that belongs to another person.


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