An utterly shameful discovery was made inside the stomach of a sperm whale who was found late last week in Scotland. According to the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS), 220 pounds of trash was inside of the whale which stranded on the Isle of Harris.
The agency posted photos of the debris pulled from the whale’s body. The trash included fishing nets, plastic, fishing line, ropes and more. SMASS writes of the disturbing discovery:
In this whale’s stomach was approximately 100 kg of marine debris- a whole range of plastic including sections of net, bundles of rope, plastic cups, bags, gloves, packing straps and tubing. All this material was in a huge ball in the stomach and some of it it looked like it had been there for some time.
This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life. It is also perhaps a good example that this is a global issue caused by a whole host of human activities. This whale had debris in its stomach which seemed to have originated from both the land and fishing sectors, and could have been swallowed at any point between Norway and the Azores.
Tragically, whale and dolphin strandings are dramatically on the rise.
Picking up trash that has blown onto beaches is just a small thing that everyone can do. Being mindful of plastic consumption is another small, but important action. Our oceans are dying and something needs to be done.
(Images via SMASS Facebook page)
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