(January 2012 photo by Robin Lindsey)
Just in from Robin Lindsey of West Seattle-based Seal Sitters:
I am so sad to report that West Seattle’s rehabbed seal pup “Satellite” Sandy was found dead yesterday, entangled in fishing line near the Edmonds fishing pier.
This just serves to remind us of the many dangers that seal pups and other marine mammals face with fishing line, lures and nets. Pups are attracted to fishing piers and docks because those structures create a climate where tiny fish thrive – the very fish that make up a good portion of a seal pup’s diet. When fishermen dump bait at boat launches and fishing piers it only compounds the dangers for pups – and frustrations of fishermen when pups and adults steal bait from their lures. With discarded lines and lures abundant around popular fishing spots (such as Colman Pool at Lincoln Park), we can all help by picking up any debris on the beaches and in the water. The waters of Washington are littered with derelict fishing gear and nets and it is estimated a minimum of 50,000 animals die yearly.
Had Sandy not been fitted with the id and satellite tags, her death would most likely never have been reported. We are encouraging divers to document any animals they find entangled in fishing gear – do NOT try to remove the animal or the gear itself. Dead or alive, it is against Federal law to touch a marine mammal without authorization. Additionally, removing net and fishing gear is extremely dangerous. Please e-mail photos and lat/long to Seal Sitters and we will forward to the appropriate person for entry into a database. I have added some links of interest regarding marine debris and derelict fishing gear removal in my post (on Blubberblog).
It was just two months ago when Robin reported that Sandy had been released and was being tracked.