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Steller Sea Lion Research
Entanglements in Marine Debris

Entanglement in marine debris is a contributing factor to Steller sea lion injury and mortality. During our vital rates field research, we photo-document sea lions that are entangled and those with visible evidence of ingesting fishing gear. In a study covering 2000–2007, packing bands (commonly used for holding cardboard bait boxes closed) were the most common neck entangling material, followed by rubber bands, net, rope and monofilament line.

Illustration of plastic packing bands around necks of sea lions
Animals entangled in plastic packing bands. Research was conducted pursuant to a NMFS Permit.
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Packing bands securing a box
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A well-worn packing band removed from a sea lion

How can you help reduce entanglements? "Lose the loop!"

Simple procedures such as cutting or reducing entangling loops of synthetic material and eliminating the use of plastic packing bands can prevent entanglements.

Man cutting packing band with scissors
Man throwing cut packing band in the trash

To learn more about entanglements and how you can help reduce them:

Project Coordinators

The multiagency Pinniped Entanglement Group (PEG) is a collaborative effort that includes marine mammal specialists, researchers, biologists, and educators who are concerned about wildlife entanglement in marine debris. Our goal is to prevent entanglements through identifying causes through research, educating the public and industry, and helping to find solutions. We also have members who have actively captured and disentangled pinnipeds (sea lions and fur seals) in Alaska and Canada.

Logos for ADFG, NOAA and Lose the Loop Program Marine debris is everyone's problem. <ul><li>Loose the loop! Prevent nooses. Cut and responsibly discard unwanted packing & rubber bands and other loops.</li><li>Go bandless! Forgo plastic packing bands (used on bait boxes and in packaging).</li><li>Dispose appropriately. Help keep plastic and other trash outof the ocean.</li><li>Keep our waterways tangle-free. Recycle your fishing gear responsibly.</li></ul>

Publications

  • Raum-Suryan, K., L.A. Jemison, and K. W. Pitcher. 2009. Entanglement of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in marine debris: Identifying causes and finding solutions. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 58:1487–1495.

Contact

Contact the ADF&G Steller Sea Lion Program at dfg.dwc.sealions@alaska.gov

To report an injured or dead marine mammal: please call the National Marine Fisheries Service Alaska 24 hr Stranding Hotline: (877) 925-7773 or (877) 9-AKR-PRD.