A seal was recently found in Lewis Beach dead from becoming entangled in a net. The animal shows clear signs of suffering over a long period of time as the nets have caused deep wounds and the body fat of the animal suggests the animal was starving.
The photos were posted on the twitter account of @klondyker whom works on the Living Seas project for the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The group has being carrying out beach clean-ups for a few years and have consistently run across ghost nets, old fishing equipment and fish farm debris that makes it way to the coastline.
The animal was found on Dalbeg beach, on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. The western coast of the island sees a tremendous amount of trash, which includes ghost gear, that makes its way through the Atlantic via the Gulf Stream and transatlantic current.
Ghost gear is one of the biggest concerns to the health of the oceans worldwide. Ghost gear or ghost fishing is what fishing gear does when it has been lost, dumped or abandoned. Nets, long lines, fish traps or any man made contraptions designed to catch fish or marine organisms are considered capable of ghost fishing when unattended, and without anyone profiting from the catches, they are affecting already depleted commercial fish stocks. Caught fish die and in turn attract scavengers which will get caught in that same net, thus creating a vicious circle.
Organizations such as the The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) are on the frontlines doing their best to reduce ghost gear in the oceans today. The organization is a great group to join and help make a difference or offer support in any way possible.