WATCH: A Victoria-based tour guide says he’s concerned for the well being of a seal after finding it entangled in debris. Calvin To has details.
A Victoria-based tour operator says he's concerned for the well being of a seal after he found it entangled in what appears to be a rope or plastic ring.
Brad Armstrong, who owns Kelp Reef Adventures, says he first found the seal with debris around its neck back in September and reported it to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Since then, the seal has gotten bigger, and Armstrong is worried that it could be injured or die.
"It was a hard winter and there were a lot of storms, I think it just got forgotten about. And now, it's a lot tighter around its neck, so it's definitely time to take action now," Armstrong says. "[It] probably saw something floating, like a rope floating in the ocean, put its head in, wanted to play around, and it just got stuck around its head and it couldn't get it back out."
Experts say entanglement is a growing problem, the result of growing populations and industries that serve them.
According to biologist Dr. Glenn Boyle, the problem affects not only individual animals, but entire species as well.
"If they're having problems surviving because of what we're doing, then all of the other of the other animals that share that environment are having problems, too. And in the long term, this is having an impact on the human species as well," Dr. Boyle says.
In the Salish Sea, the Marine Mammal Rescue Unit is tasked with helping sea life in distress. The team works with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to coordinate rescue efforts. These can often take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks to plan.
CHEK News spoke with a representative from Fisheries and Oceans and passed along Armstrong's phone number.
The representative said Fisheries and Oceans would be following up.
In the meantime, Armstrong is asking members of the public to help keep the oceans clean.
"Every single day when we're out kayaking, if I see garbage, I pick it up," he says. "Otherwise, we're just going to see more and more problems in the future."
Fisheries and Oceans is asking anyone who sees sea life in distress to report it to its 24 hour hotline: 1-800-465-4336.