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Diver Captures Moment Seal Frees Itself From Discarded Fishing Rope

Underwater cameraman Ben Burville, who is a doctor by day in Northumberland, England, captured the moment a grey seal freed itself after becoming entangled in abandoned fishing gear. Burville told Storyful he encountered the seal in the waters off the Farne Islands in the North Sea. Burville has become known for capturing heartwarming underwater footage of seals, but this time he wanted his footage to highlight marine pollution. “If you watch carefully you can see that discarded rope is wrapped around the body of the seal in the film,” he said. “The underwater hazard is discarded [or] lost fishing gear, in this case, lobster pots and the associated rope. The rope and net material can continue to ‘ghost fish’ trapping fish, seals and crustaceans.” Despite the trouble the seal was in, Burville didn’t hold any fear for his “dive buddy.” He told Storyful, “Fortunately, I knew this specific seal who had been diving with me for over one hour was very at ease and used to this specific hazard. I obviously would never have let it get trapped but it highlights the potential risk to our wonderful marine life from marine debris.” Burville posted the video to Twitter on April 23 to highlight the issue of marine pollution, though he told Storyful that the incident happened in September 2017. Credit: Ben Burville via Storyful
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