Once again, the issue and harm of plastic garbage in waterways has been highlighted.
A fisherman in the western province of Alberta caught a northern pike, and got a shock when he pulled the fish out of the South Saskatchewan River.
Adam Turnbull who was fishing near Medicine Hat, said he’d never seen anything like it.
Apparently, at a young age the pike became entangled in a plastic wrapping from an energy drink container and as it grew the plastic deformed its body.
A biologist said the fish would have been struggling to survive to this point. In similar situations this usually leads to the animal’s premature death. The University of Lethbridge (Alberta) biologist said incidents like these are much more common than people think, adding as an example, that almost 80 per cent of the garbage in the Great Lakes consists of plastic similar to that demonstrated in this case.
There have been thousands of cases of animals dying from ingested plastic waste including a case where a shard from a plastic DVD case pierced a whale’s stomach leading to its death.l
In this case, Turnbull says while he himself may have been careless with litter in the past, the effect this had on the fish was a wake-up call about littering. Quoted in the CBC he said, “I figure every time that fish kicked its tail to move, it was in pain. Every time he moved his body, it moved a little bit and just caused him a little bit more pain. It’s horrible really”.
He posted images to social media asking people to be aware of the consequences of their littering.
CBC News March 13. 2014
Additional information- sources
- CBC: D Bell: Oct 31/17: Alberta-pike: It’s very common
- Telegraph (UK): M Molloy: Nov 1/17: Alberta pike
- Ecowatch: marine animals dying from plastic
- RCI- 2015: cases of marine death from plastic garbage