Appeal for those living by the sea to help clear litter .
The Marine Conservation Society and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) volunteers are calling on those living by the coast to help clear litter which endangers seals and other marine life when visiting the the sea shores around Bridlington, Flamborough, Filey and the East Yorkshire coastal area
In the last 2 months, a team of marine medics In Yorkshire have been called out to help 6 entangled and distressed seals, and there seems to be an upward trend in the number of these call outs.
These curious animals are found with plastic trapped around their bodies, causing painful cuts and impacting the animals’ day-to-day lives. Entanglements, which were successfully removed by trained marine mammal medics, include plastic bags, tarpaulins, rubber inner tubes, commercial fishing nets and recreational angling line.
Animals caught in these various forms of plastic can suffer from increasing pain and injury as they grow, move and feed, worsening wounds and often leading to a slow death from infection or starvation where the plastic doesn’t grow with the animals.
Matt Barnes, North East Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager at the Marine Conservation Society said: “It’s heartbreaking to see these charismatic animals injured and in pain. Whilst we’re able to attend callouts in the area and help put these animals on the right path back to health, we’re receiving more reports of animal entanglements.
“For anyone taking a walk on the beach during lockdown, please pick up any litter on the shoreline. We see a direct impact on sea life from litter left to be swept into the sea.”
During the summer, seals visiting the shores of North East England were facing a different threat, with many seaside visitors approaching the animals for ‘seal selfies’. The Marine Conservation Society and British Diver Marine Life Rescue strongly advises against approaching these animals – whilst they may look friendly, they are still wild animals. Keeping a safe distance from animals such as seals, and ensuring that the beach is kept clear of litter are two ways to support the safety of seals and other animals which use the UK’s coastline as a refuge and resting place.
The teams who help treat the entangled animals are trained marine animal medics. For beachgoers who spot a seal in distress, please contact British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) as soon as possible on 01825 765 546.