Upsetting Photos Show Seal Choking On Fishing Line
Photos of a seal being strangled by a piece of fishing line have triggered warnings about coastal littering from wildlife experts, who say sea pollution is still a 'huge problem'.
The upsetting scenes were captured on a remote beach in Pembrokeshire, south west Wales, showing a female Atlantic grey seal trapped in what is believed to be a section of fishing line - her young pup by her side.
Globally, there are thought to be only 300,000 Atlantic grey seals, which are a protected mammal.
Mark Underhill, Countryside Manager for the National Trust, said that while 'good progress' has been made in cleaning up the ocean, there is still a great deal we need to do.
He said: "Every day vast quantities of waste is being dumped into the sea and our wildlife is paying the price.
"Litter such as fishing nets and tackle does not simply go away and can pose a threat for decades, ensnaring all types of ocean life, as seen here off the West Wales coast.
"It has been three years since Blue Planet II and the groundswell of public support for cleaning up our seas and our rivers that followed.
"We have made good progress on coastal litter, but sea pollution remains a huge problem that we as a society must address if we are to protect our most beautiful places and diverse wildlife."
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Sadly, the issue seen in the recent photos of the Atlantic grey sealis more common than people might think, with the National Trust saying incidents of entanglement and ingestion of plastics by marine animals are now widely reported.
Natural Resources Wales monitors the seals in the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation.
Kate Lock, Marine Environmental Assessment Officer, said: "The problem with netting entanglement is of growing concern, especially with the high numbers recorded each year.
"In 2019, just in the area around Skomer Island, 28 individual seals were photographed with obvious signs that they were entangled at some point in their lives."
A report from last year called State of Nature - which was created by 70 conservation charities including the National Trust - detailed the many challenges that the UK's sea life faces.
Along with warming seas, loss of habitat and fish stocks, the report also said one island had been littered with elastic bands that gulls mistook for worms.
A National Trust spokesperson said clearing litter from the coast was taking time away from vital conservation work, calling on businesses and producers to rethink how they dispose of materials that may harm wildlife.
Featured Image Credit: PA