New Pinniped Entanglement Study Released

A new and extremely interesting report from Elizabeth Hogan & Amanda Warlick on pinniped entanglement from packing bands has just been released. 

Cetaceans, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, seabirds, and manatees have all been found with scars, wounds, or missing appendages due to entanglement.  Among pinnipeds, an estimated 58 percent of seal and sea lion species are known to have been affected by entanglement.  Packing bands are often one of the most common types of entangling debris found on marine animals. The strap typically forms a collar around the neck, or a flipper, and tightens as the animal grows, eventually cutting into the tissue to become embedded in skin, muscle, and fat.  Packing bands are pervasive in global shipping operations and are used for a range of products including fish bait boxes.

Analysis of entangling debris assessed in this study suggests that there are some commonalities in the physical characteristics of packing bands found entangling pinnipeds around the world (i.e., color, size), which can inform future steps and strategies for reducing the prevalence of entangling debris, including implementing regulations, realigning economic incentives, establishing industry best practices, and developing innovative alternative materials.  Here we present a global review and analysis of packing band material retrieved from seals and sea lions submitted by stranding response practitioners from around the world to inform future voluntary mitigation measures or regulations.

You can download a PDF of the article here.