Marine wildlife death by entanglement is a silent killer. Thousands of miles and literally tons of derelict rope and fishing nets quietly snare unsuspecting marine animals on a global scale every day. Each lost and abandoned "ghost nets" can circulate through our oceans and waterways for many years, killing thousands of animals. According to a Convention on Biological Diversity report from 2013, fatal entanglement in and ingestion of marine debris by marine animals has increased by 40% in the last decade. It is estimated that over 100,000 marine animals such as turtles, dolphins, seals and whales, die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris. And, more than 260 animal species worldwide have become entangled in or consumed fishing line, nets, ropes and other discarded equipment.
Prior to the 1950's most fishing gear were made of bio-degradeable products such as hemp rope. These products broke down relatively quickly in the marine environment. As long lasting, durable plastic and synthetic materials became more popular for fishing activities, lost or abandoned fishing gear made of synthetic material became entanglement threats for many marine species.
So, what can be done? We believe that the solution begins with a conversation. Marine Debris Awareness is a global issue that will not be solved with simply one action. But with the coordinated efforts of coastal communities and clean up projects, we can make a difference.
Check out this publication by NOAA Marine Debris Program: CLICK HERE