Imagine, as you’re swimming, suddenly finding yourself entangled in a massive sprawl of netting that drags you down deeper under the water. The more you wrestle to free yourself, the more entwined you become. As the last remaining bits of oxygen exit your lungs, panic sets in, and you have no choice but to fight for your life and do everything you can to make it back up to the surface to regain your breath. You endure deep gashes and wounds and break several bones in a desperate attempt to untether your body in this struggle, but try as you might, you simply cannot break free. The latticework is too complex and the netting spread too wide. And so, exhausted and defeated, you give up all hope and drown.
This is a scenario that plays out day after day throughout the world’s oceans, affecting countless dolphins, porpoises, and whales. And they’re not the only ones suffering. Sea turtles, gigantic manta rays, sharks, seals, or sea lions also regularly become “bycatch” victims. In fact, a report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund found that approximately 1,000 marine animals are killed each day by commercial fishing nets, not including the fish they’re designed to catch.
It’s bad enough that the widespread use of fishing nets exacerbates our planet’s overfishing problem, which is depleting global fish stocks in mass. Experts estimate that more than 80 percent of these fish stocks have already been “fully- to over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse.”
But these nets are doing far more damage than that by greatly disrupting the oceanic food chain and destroying vast ecosystems by killing off the very species that keep our oceans in balance.
We must act now to protect these species and keep our oceans healthy and supportive to our current way of life. This is no small task, but here are a few things we can all start doing right away to bring an end to overfishing and the indiscriminate killings caused by these nets:
- Sign this petition urging George Eustice and the devolved Ministers to take urgent action by implementing laws that protect dolphins, porpoises, and whales in UK waters.
- Lower your consumption of seafood or eliminate it entirely to reduce the demand for commercial fishing.
- Follow these swimmers’ lead and help rescue any sea life you find ensnarled in netting
In addition, share this article to generate more awareness about these issues and encourage others to help, too.
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