On Wednesday July 31, the NSRI Kommetjie duty crew were activated at 8.51am following eye-witness reports of a seal and a Loggerhead turtle trapped in a fishing net which had washed ashore on Long Beach.
Members of the public were walking along the beach when they stumbled upon the two distressed animals entangled in the fishing net. They then contacted the nearest NSRI team.
A rescue crew from the NSRI immediately responded and were joined on-scene by staff from the Two Oceans Aquarium to confirm the condition of the animals.
“We found the two animals trapped in one net and it appears that they may have been drifting at sea for sometime in what looks like an old and discarded fishing net and most likely washed ashore during the night in the storm. The seal appeared most stressed and for safety we used the SAWDN (South African Whale Disentanglement Network) poles and cutting equipment and in an operation lasting about half an hour the net was cut away from the two animals and they were successfully released and the net recovered for disposal,” said NSRI Kommetjie station commander Ian Klopper.
After being successfully released the seal immediately returned to the sea and appeared to be unharmed but the turtle had to be transported to Two Oceans Aquarium for further care and rehabilitation. The Aquarium has since confirmed that the turtle is in good health and will be released back into the ocean soon.
Following the incident the Two Oceans Aquarium took to social media to raise awareness regarding the irresponsible discarding of old fishing nets.
Discarded fishing gear is a HUGE problem.
Both animals are incredibly lucky to have survived – if this #ghostfishing net had not washed up when it did, both would have drowned. We’ll take good care of this turtle until it’s ready for release again! 🐢 https://t.co/XVbIi7wdQf
— Two Oceans Aquarium (@2OceansAquarium) July 31, 2019