Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Team works to save a Steller sea lion entangled in a plastic packing strap Saturday near Hornby Island. Photo courtesy Ocean Wise video.

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Team works to save a Steller sea lion entangled in a plastic packing strap Saturday near Hornby Island. Photo courtesy Ocean Wise video.

Efforts to save sea lions from plastic entanglements on the weekend has prompted the Vancouver Aquarium to call a need for action to reduce the use of plastics.

On Saturday, the aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team was able to save a Steller sea lion that had a nylon rope cutting deeply into her neck just north of Norris Rocks off the southwest tip of Hornby Island.

The sea lion is estimated to be about 260 kilograms and was shot with a dart carrying a sedative before the thick, braided plastic was cut.

An attempt to save a young Steller entangled in a plastic packing strap saw it bite out the sedative dart before the drug could immobilize it.

The animal then bolted for the ocean and the team was unable to finish the rescue.

Vancouver Aquarium says Stellers are considered the “King” of sea lions as they are the biggest of all sea lions.

Some populations are endangered in parts of Alaska and are of special concern in Canada.

The rope will be analyzed at the Ocean Wise Ocean Pollution Research lab, which they hope can help identify sources of the debris and gear that entangles sea animals.

“The problem of plastic pollution in our oceans is becoming a crisis, and it’s one that we all need to take more seriously in our daily lives,” Vancouver Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena said in a release.

“From debris that causes entanglement of marine mammals like these, to smaller plastics that get ingested by fish and animals at the bottom of the food chain, our single-use plastic waste is having a huge impact.”

Andy Neal