Harm to Marine Wildlife

Countless marine animals and sea birds become entangled in marine debris or ingest it. This can cause them serious harm and often results in their death.

Entanglement in Marine Debris

Marine debris which is known to cause entanglement includes derelict fishing gear such as nets and mono-filament line and also six-pack rings and fishing bait box strapping bands. This debris can cause death by drowning, suffocation, strangulation, starvation through reduced

Plastic bag debris is vast in the world's oceans and has become a serious problem. According to Greenpeace, the bags do not degrade and cause harm to the marine environment.

Plastic bag debris is vast in the world's oceans and has become a serious problem. According to Greenpeace, the bags do not degrade and cause harm to the marine environment.

feeding efficiency, and injuries. Particularly affected are seals and sea lions, probably due to their very inquisitive nature of investigating objects in their environment. Entanglement rates in these animals of up to 7.9% of a population have been recorded. Furthermore, in some instances entanglement is a threat to the recovery of already reduced population sizes. An estimated 58% of seal and sea lion species are known to have been affected by entanglement including the Hawaiian monk seal, Australian sea lions, New Zealand fur seals and species in the Southern Ocean.

Whales, dolphins, porpoises, turtles, manatees and seabirds have all been reported to have suffered from entanglement. Many different species of whale and turtle have been reported to have been tangled in plastic. Manatees have been found with scars or missing flippers due to entanglement. 51 species of seabirds are also known to have been affected. Derelict fishing gear also causes damage to coral reefs when nets or lines get snagged by the reef and break it off. . . .

Ingestion of Marine Debris

Ingestion of marine debris is known to particularly affect sea turtles and seabirds but is also a problem for marine mammals and fish. Ingestion is generally thought to occur because the marine debris is mistaken for prey. Most of that erroneously ingested is plastic. Different types of debris are ingested by marine animals including plastic bags, plastic pellets and fragments of plastic that have been broken up from larger items. The biggest threat from ingestion occurs when it blocks the digestive tract, or fills the stomach, resulting in malnutrition, starvation and potentially death.

Studies have shown that a high proportion (about 50 to 80%) of sea turtles found dead are known to have ingested marine debris. This can have a negative impact on turtle populations. In young turtles, a major problem is dietary dilution in which debris takes up some of the gut capacity and threatens their ability to take on necessary quantities of food.

For seabirds, 111 out of 312 species are known to have ingested debris and it can affect a large percentage of a population (up to 80%). Moreover, plastic debris is also known to be passed to the chicks in regurgitated food from their parents. One harmful effect from plastic ingestion in birds is weight loss due for example to a falsely sated

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