'A sad sight to see': Seal off Cork coast spotted tangled up in discarded fishing net

'A sad sight to see': Seal off Cork coast spotted tangled up in discarded fishing net

Heartbreaking images have emerged on social media of a seal entangled in discarded fishing net on Kedge Island near Baltimore. Picture: Baltimore Sea Safari

Heartbreaking images have emerged on social media of a seal entangled in discarded fishing net on Kedge Island near Baltimore in West Cork.

The images were captured by Baltimore Sea Safari, which operates close-up coastal sightseeing boat trips around Carbery's Hundred Isles, with whale, dolphin, porpoise, seal and basking shark watching.

"A sad sight to see an Atlantic Grey seal at Kedge island, wrapped in a piece of carelessly discarded fishing net. 

"We first encountered it in the water on Friday and we saw it on the shoreline of the island on Saturday," the family-owned business wrote on social media. 

Baltimore Sea Safari said there is "little or no accessibility" to where the seal was sighted on Friday and Saturday.

However, the GPS position of the location of where the seal was sighted has been passed on to Seal Rescue Ireland.

Speaking to The Echo, Mícheál Cottrell, owner/skipper at Baltimore Sea Safari, said fortunately it is a rare occurrence to see seals entangled in fishing net in the area. 

"This isn’t something we would see too often, actually this is only the second time we have come across an entangled seal in 14 years of running boat trips, and we have encountered a lot of seals in that time. 

"The last one we saw was about five years ago with rope around its neck. 

"Fishermen in this area are generally responsible.

"Cork County Council has a special compound on the pier in Baltimore for fishermen to discard old ropes, nets and net patching, as well as plastics and the fishermen here are good to use it. 

"Unfortunately, net patching and plastics can get washed overboard in times of bad weather or from vessels sinking at sea," he said.

Mr Cottrell said the seal was not sighted on their two trips on Sunday.

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