Seal Rescues are OCN's flagship campaign. Our dedicated rescue team patrols the beaches at Pelican Point and Cape Cross 3-4 days per week, as long as the hot summer or breeding season allows. Our rescuers have done thousands of successful seal rescues over the past 10 years, making OCN one of the world's leading seal rescue organisations.
Why are there so many entangled seals in Namibia ?
There are a few reasons why we find so many entangled seals. Here are a few of them:
Namibia is home to 1.5 million Cape Fur Seals. With so many animals on the beaches, there will be many entanglements.
Namibia has so many seals because we have a lot of fish in our waters. With the fish comes a thriving fishing industry. The majority of seals are entangled in rubbish from the fishing industry, including fishing nets, fishing line, hooks and packaging straps. Seal entanglements are a classic example of human/animal conflict.
Entanglements happen all the time, we just don't see them. Out of sight, out of mind. Seals have the rare advantage that they spend so much time on the beach, thus bringing the reality of ocean rubbish and plastic pollution to us. Other parts of the ocean are just as bad with entanglement, but most entangled marine animals will simply perish without being noticed or recorded.
Namibia has gained full independence in 1994 only. It takes a long time to establish proper checks and balances in all areas, including fishing regulations and enforcement. Unfortunately we have not reached a level yet where existing laws regarding ocean rubbish and plastic pollution are enforced. In diplomatic words: there is plenty of room for improvement.
Is the problem getting worse?
Yes. We know the problem is getting worse, because entanglements are simply a symptom of a bigger problem. As long as the underlying issue of plastic rubbish and ocean pollution does not get addressed, entanglements will get worse. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose. It is possible that some of our seals are entangled in fishing line from 20 years ago! It is also possible that a seal gets entangled in a piece of fishing net that has killed many other animals before.
Even if we could protect the oceans from any additional piece of plastic, we would still have to deal with the existing mountain of ocean plastic.
How can you help?
You cannot help our seals directly, but you can be part of the global movement to protect our oceans and marine animals from further exploitation and danger:
Skip the fish! If you don't eat fish, there is less demand for fishing. By reducing the market for seafood, you are protecting the natural habitat of seals and many other species.
Pick up rubbish wherever you see it. It doesn't matter if it's on the beach, next to a road, in the park, or in front of your home. It also doesn't matter if you put it there: the "owner" is not coming back. Pick it up anyways. Not your rubbish, but your environment!
Avoid plastic as much as possible. Plastic has been a huge contributor to food security and high standard of living, but we have taken it too far. Avoid single use plastics wherever possible, well beyond using metal straws and taking your own shopping bag to the supermarket. Buy the veggies that are not wrapped in multiple layers of cellophane, bring your own containers when you order takeaways, and boycott products with excessive plastic wrapping.
Talk about the issue of plastic pollution! The more we talk about it, the less it can be ignored. There have been major consumer driven success stories in the fight against plastic pollution. We might not be in the position to change policies, but we can help with public opinion and education. OCN videos have been watched over 500 million times on Youtube alone over the past 3 years, and we are only a small group of activists.
You will never know what you can achieve if you don't even try.
Contact Us: email@example.com
Namibia: Ocean Conservation Namibia Trust, PO Box 5304, Walvis Bay, Namibia
USA: Ocean Conservation International, 8 The Green, STE A, Dover , DE 19901
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