1. ITV Report

RSPCA warns of the danger of fishing litter after seal pup is hurt

RSPCA warn about the dangers of fishing litter. Photo: PA Images

The RSPCA is warning about the dangers of fishing litter after a seal suffered horrific injuries after becoming tangled in a line and hooks.

The grey seal pup was collected by an RSPCA inspector on Monday 12 August from Blakeney, Norfolk and taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre for treatment.

Staff at the hospital were horrified to find the pup had become entangled in a line and hooks and the catalogue of injuries included a barbed hook in his back; a hook in his neck; a hook and weight in his flipper and a line around the muzzle.

RSPCA warns of the danger of fishing litter after seal pup is hurt. Credit: RSPCA

"I can honestly say in all my years of working for the RSPCA I have never seen anything so horrible, and to make matters worse this poor seal was still alive and enduring this horrendous pain.

"Sadly his injuries were too severe and infected for us to be able to save him, so the kindest thing the vet could do was to put him to sleep in order to stop his suffering. Who knows how long he had been suffering like this, it was truly heartbreaking to see and upsetting knowing this could have easily been prevented."

– Alison Charles, Centre Manager

The RSPCA has been working with the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency, to reduce the impact of lost and discarded fishing tackle which causes injuries to wildlife.

Tips for anglers:

  • Take unwanted fishing line home and cut it into small pieces before putting it in the bin.
  • Be aware of surrounding trees - discarded line caught up in foliage can entangle wildlife.
  • Don't leave baited tackle unattended - always remove the bait from the hook and put the tackle in a safe place.
  • Use a bait box so that there is no chance of leaving an empty bait tin behind by mistake.
  • Keep your local stretch of river, canal or coastline litter-free. Dispose safely of any rubbish you see, even if it is not your own.