A dead orca carcass was seen wrapped in fishing gear off the coast of Oregon, which triggered a search to recover what may be the first dead killer whale in the state.

A fisherman from Salem, Oregon, posted a picture of the orca wrapped in fishing gear on iFish.com. The fisherman thinks that the orca was between 16 and 18 feet long.

The orca had the line wrapped around its tail and was found 25 miles out from Newport, Oregon, wrapped in crab pot line. A leaded crab pot rope is used to tie crab pots, which are used to catch crabs, to a floating buoy above the surface of the water.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are about 80 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, with 10 of those in the waters off Oregon’s coast. However, seeing killer whales in the area is rare. Although a post-mortem investigation will need to be conducted to figure out if the animal died before or after being entangled, this calls attention to the problem of pollution and bycatch in the ocean.

Source: Oceana/Youtube

The waste that we dump into the planet’s oceans and waterways (an estimated 8.8 million tons per year, to be exact!) has serious implications for marine animals. Around 700 marine species have been put at risk of extinction because of the sheer volumes of plastic that they end up ingesting or becoming entangled in. Even enormous sea animals such as Sei whales and sperm whales have died because of our trash.

Bycatch – a term used to describe untargeted marine animals like sharks, dolphins, porpoises, and turtles, who often end up being caught by fishing nets – is also a grave problem. The World Wildlife Foundation estimates that bycatch accounts for 40 percent of all global marine catches and that a fisherman will catch an unbelievable 20 pounds of bycatch for every one pound of targeted fish. Every year, around 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises become fatally entangled in fishing gear, while about 250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, killed, or injured by fishermen. Other animals that are frequently caught as bycatch include sharks (400,000 per year, to be exact), stingrays, and seals.

Sign this petition to stop bycatch and bottom trawling!

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