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Drift Gillnets Caused These 10 Disturbing Ocean Animal Deaths You Can’t Unsee

Oceana knew that drift gillnets in California — mile-long fishing nets floating below the water’s surface off the coast — are catching and needlessly killing ocean animals of all kinds. To expose that truth, we searched for photographic proof: NOAA responded to our request for photos with hundreds of images.

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1. This California sea lion was entangled and drowned in a drift gillnet.

Via NOAA

See those marks along its body? That’s from being pressed against the netting. The drift gillnets in California are meant for swordfish and thresher sharks, but unlucky animals like sea lions can become captured by the long fishing nets.

3. These Dall's porpoises lie lifeless after being drowned in a California drift gillnet.

Via NOAA

The nets entangle these creatures, cutting into their bodies and rendering them unable to surface for air.

This is what a Pacific Loggerhead turtle should look like:

Via NOAA

Pacific loggerheads make a long journey over 7,500 miles between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico. Most spend their time in California waters swimming through the water in search of their next meal.

8. This gray whale is completely entrapped in a drift gillnet.

Via NOAA

This fishing net is capable of snaring and killing an animal that weighs in around 30 to 40 tons (27,300 to 36,300 kg).

This is what a short-finned pilot whale should look like:

Via NOAA

Short finned pilot whales can reach sizes up to 24 feet and 6,600 pounds. Only 760 short-finned pilot whales are estimated to live off the U.S. West Coast. They're very sociable, found in groups of 10 to 30, but rarely seen by people.

Sign Oceana's petition to ban drift gillnets off the California coast.

Help us stop drift gillnets from needlessly killing more marine animals. With cleaner gear types available, it's time to remove these "walls of death."

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