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Marine Debris killing our wildlife...


Lonnie Shull <[log in to unmask]>


Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 23 May 1997 15:51:20 -0400





text/plain (1 lines)

While I find this thread about fishes trapped in garbage interesting, I am not
at all surprised...

In December of 1992, a female sperm whale washed ashore on Wrightsville Beach,
NC (just east of Wilmington NC). This whale had died of starvation. Her stomach
was so full of marine debris that she had ingested that there was no room for
real "food". The debris that blocked her intestines was ordinary household
garbage; nylon rope, a plastic milk bottle.

Although this is an extreme case, marine debris kills thousands of animals every
year, either by trapping them as described in the earlier posts, or by causing
them die of suffocation or starvation as described above. Even plastic balloons
released at sporting and other events are hazardous to sea turtles who mistake
the deflated balloons for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods.

When in the field, take along an extra container to pick up any trash you might
find in the water or along the shore, and encourage marina, port pier and dock
owners/operators to provide trash receptacles and recycling bins.

...This post is paraphrased from a pamphlet released by North Carolina BIG Sweep
Inc., Keep America Beautiful of New Hanover CO., National Audubon Society, North
Carolina Department Environment Health and Natural Resources, N.C. Division of
Coastal Management, N.C. Division of Environmental Management, N.C. Wildlife
Resources Commission and UNC SeaGrant.

Big Sweep is a great volunteer program that helps clean up the waters and
shoreline of North Carolina every fall. They started off as a few citizens in
1987 and now have tons of cooperate sponsors and get lots of media coverage.

For information about N.C. big sweep call,
1-800-27-SWEEP (800-277-9337)
or visit their Website at
E-mail [log in to unmask]

In addition, the Center for Marine Conservation put out a great book on the
results of Coastal Cleanup across the US. and Internationally. They too do a
great job cleaning up our shores. They can be reached at
1-800-CMC-BEACH (U.S.) or
1-(804)-851-6734 (international)

I hope the helps someone,

Lonnie Shull
N.C. Division of Coastal Management

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