What was supposed to be a relaxing run on the Nahoon Beach in East London turned into a sad discovery for Liam Victor on Tuesday morning.
Victor found a washed-up net with five dead adult Sooty Shearwaters entangled in it.
“It seems to be a trawler net that had been cut loose, that was the cause of the incident,” Victor said.
“The birds might have got caught diving in for fish to eat,” he added.
The GO! rushed to assess the situation and found the birds badly entangled in the thick net.
The birds had not yet decomposed, giving an indication that it was a fairly recent occurrence.
The birds were taken to the East London Aquarium where they could be disposed of properly.
Though questions were sent to the city’s aquarium yesterday, comment was unavailable at the time of going to print.
Victor said he had trained his children to pick up rubbish whenever they visited one of the beaches.
“If everyone could do their bit to clean up when on the beach, it really would make a big difference,” Victor said.
September 15 marks International Coastal Cleanup day, when everyone can take part in helping to maintain a clean sea environment.
East London Aquarium curator, Siani Tinley it appears that the net in which the birds were caught in was either from cargo nets or a section of a large scale fishing net.
“The netting drifts at sea for a while and certain species of fish will use it as a shelter. The sea birds will see the fish and try catch them through the net and get caught up and drown.
When the GO! asked Tinley as to whether this kind of net was punishable by law, she said “any pollution or littering at sea is punishable by law, some types of nets such as gill nets are prohibited.
Tinley also highlighted that protecting marine life is as simple as awareness and education, such as the recycling of plastic items.
“Friends of the East London Aquarium have initiated a campaign called Ocean Life Line Project. It allows public to support the rescue, rehabilitation and release activities of the East London Aquarium,” said Tinley.
If anyone comes across live or dead marine strandings, they should contact the aquarium on 043 705 2637.
“For live strandings it’s essential to call us first before removing or chasing or assisting a stranded animal,” she said.