Letters: Discarded Plastic Nets Impact on Wildlife

Dear Orkney News,

envelopeI’ve just seen Ross Flett’s shared  post, on TON Facebook page, which includes a picture of an almost strangled seal pup. I’m not on Facebook, so can’t give any response, there.  No comment is needed on the distressing nature of the image itself, but I will reiterate that these things would not happen if folk were more careful about their discarded fishing gear.

We usually like to see pictures of birds which are cheery or a bit un-usual.  The image in this photo is, I’m afraid, becoming all too ‘usual’.

gannet with plastic B BellMike and I and I went for a walk to Warberth Beach, and we found this Gannet, dead, on the bank by the beach.  Either it had got it’s beak caught in the netting, and so, starved, or, it had dived, got caught in the net, and drowned. Either way, a completely un-neccesary and painful death, for this bird, which could have been prevented, by a bit more care being taken, on the part of us humans.

When we saw it, I was angry, very angry – and I still am.

I’m sending it to you to highlight and underline this senseless damage to our seas, and sea-life, that may help to make folk think, hard, about what is happening in the world around us, and the, very large, part we play in preserving, or damaging, that world.

It’s all so un-neccesary, avoidable and …………cruel.

I’m furious!

The pretty pictures play their part – Ross Flett’s picture, and this picture, illustrate the other side of human involvement with wildlife.

Yours, Bernie Bell, Orkney

3 replies »

  1. This is a very difficult question, one I’ve thought long and hard about. Sea fishing is is a world-wide human activity, providing work and food for a great many people – and of course it is an integral part of Orkney’s economy. Losing fishing gear is also part of sea fishing and largely, I think, unavoidable at times. I’ve thought of several schemes to try to, at least, minimise the loss and keep our seas cleaner. We could keep our beaches cleaner – the yeraly “Bag the Bruck”, whuilst salving consciences, doesn’t really make much of an impact. I know quite a few folk do a lot more than that throughout the year. However, would we here in Orkney, be willing to pay extra council tax to provide the means for the Council to clean beaches regularly? Let’s face it, if there was that much rubbish on the streets we really be kicking up a fuss, talking about the effect on tourism, etc. Well, our beaches are an integral part of our environment and a draw for tourists so maybe we should do more? I think it’s not enough to just say folk should be more careful about their discarded fishing gear if we continue to use the food that the sea provides.

  2. I agree, Andy – fishing isn’t going to stop – and some accidental, unavoidable loss of equipment, will happen – but…….I do believe that folk could be more careful.
    We used to live in Suffolk, and would walk the beaches there, and come across fishermen’s ‘nests’, where they would have left all kinds of rubbish – including bits of discarded line. Not all of them, of course, by any means – most were responsible, and you could only tell they’d been there, by a hollow in the sand – but some, left a terrible mess.
    All I’m asking is that folk are more careful and give a thought to the possible results of their carelessness.

    One small, easy thing to do, for the non-fisher-folk is….as they walk along a beach, if they see fishing line or other potentially harmful ‘stuff’ – pick it up, and put it in a bin. It still exists, but should then, hopefully, be disposed of effectively.
    That’s one thing me and Mike do. The other thing we do that with, is glass, handling it cautiously! That’s more to do with people’s feet and dogs paws.

  3. In answer to Martin Gray – indeed, I don’t know if it was discarded, lost accidentally, lost due to misadventure, swept over-board, etc. etc.
    I’m just asking folk to be careful – that’s all.

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