Three divers were in the waters of Bat Islands, Costa Rica when a huge female Manta Ray approached them. They quickly realized that she had become entangled in a fishing net and needed assistance. Without thinking, one of the divers swam up to cut her free. Once she was loose, they retrieved the net, which they have kept as a trophy of the incredible encounter.
Plastics comprise of 80% of all debris that make up marine pollution. Lost fishing nets- called “ghost nets,” typically made of plastic, pose a threat to many animals whose livelihoods depend on the water, including dolphins, sea turtles, and seabirds. Once entangled, these animals suffer from limited mobility and infection, often leading to starvation and death.
While most of us are not generally using and tossing fishing nets, smaller forms of plastics such as rings around 6-packs of aluminum cans and plastic bags also pose a hazard. Even micro-beads found in most skin-care products for exfoliation are typically made of plastic. They find their way into our waterways by the billions and are ingested by small fish, eventually working their way up the food chain. Opting for biodegradable or reusable products whenever possible, and properly disposing of waste is the best way to protect our marine life and the environment in general.