Just off the coast of Brisbane, Australia, there is the Mulgumpin/Moreton Island. Conservationists from the organization Sea Shepherd Australia have recently released very sad and upsetting images of several animals who have died of what is believed to be plastic and other fishing debris. The animals who’d been found deceased were a cormorant and sea turtle.
Sea Shepherd Australia had been conducting their second annual beach cleanup, and they were shocked to come across the dead animals on the beach. They were particularly concerned to find the sea turtle entangled in a net meant for catching crabs.
Grahame Lloyd, the campaign leader for Sea Shepherd, released a statement that said, “Recreational fishing gear accounted for a great deal of what we recovered on the island. We found the remains of eight turtles in just under a ten-kilometre stretch of beach, including bones and shells. It makes me wonder how many had died from ingesting plastics or coming into contact with boats or fishing gear.”
Authorities noted that there was plenty of evidence to show that the turtle had likely been hauling the crab net around on its back – all the way up the beach where it passed away from exhaustion.
The organization is now asking for boats in the area to be careful about their fishing equipment and to make sure that they don’t discard old fishing lines into the ocean.
Lyndal Carmichael, a Sea Shepherd photographer, made sure to document the gruesome scenes as a reminder to the world that humans pose the greatest threat to marine life. Carmichael noted in the statement how unbelievable it was to see such a scene. It was then that the gravity of the plight of marine animals set in.
Carmichael added, “Fishing gear is a death trap for marine animals. The turtle had entered the open side of the crab pot and had appeared to chew through the opposite side in an attempt to free herself. This turtle’s story was clear to see.”
The horrific discovery wasn’t long after another turtle who’d choked to death on a piece of rope last year. Those cleaning the beach were upset at the amount of plastic that they found, including bottles, bottle caps, hard plastic pieces as well as soft plastic remnants, cigarette lighters, cyalume fishing glow sticks, toothbrushes, rubber thongs, and balloons.
We all really need to be much more mindful of the amount of plastic we consume and how we dispose of it – we own it to our oceans and the animals living in them.