During our whale watching and swimming with dolphins’ tours quite often, we find rubbish floating on the ocean. We usually try to collect it and bring it back to shore. Is the least we can do! Among the most common items, we usually find rests of fishing gear and plastics. However, sometimes we get really surprised with the kind of trash we collect: hundreds of meters of fishing rope or even a fridge! How can this be possible?
This issue gains worldwide importance, especially if you think about all the consequences that it may have on the ecosystems, and thus in our lives. Although is a topic more than exploited, never forget that all the plastic that we have ever created is still around. And some of this plastic is in our oceans, some of it is breaking down in tiny pieces that will be there our entire life… However, some of the pieces they don’t need to degrade to cause harm to wildlife; and the same happen with fishing gear. We are talking about entanglement, i.e. when an animal becomes caught in something such as a net or ropes.
Luckily, entanglement is not the most common sighting in our trips. However, over the years we have several records of both dolphins, whales and turtles interacting, and often entangled in fishing gear, ropes or most frequently, in plastic.
Sea litter and entanglement is an international issue and is therefore one of the concerns that the European project INDICIT wants to assess since 2017. Right now, the second edition of the project is running (2019-2021) and its aim is to develop standardized tools for monitoring the impacts of litter on marine fauna. One of their main topics to focus is “Marine wildlife entanglement in floating debris (turtles, mammals and birds)”.
Since early this year, Futurismo is collaborating now with the INDICIT-II project, providing the records of entanglements we have in our database. In our more than 10 years of sightings, several entanglement situations are well reported, not only with the location or the species involved but in most occasions as well with photographs or even videos documenting the event.
And like this, another little drop to help to protect our oceans and motivate us to go out every day 🙂
Written by Laura González