Aug 13, 2011

Of pelicans and fishing...

Over the last week or so, numerous pelicans have been found in the Monterey Bay area - tangled in fishing line, snagged by hooks, wet, and needing help. So many, it's been hard for rescuers to keep up.

We have witnessed such high numbers of fishing line entanglements before when baitfish schooled close to shore. Check out this VIDEO shot in August, 2008. Back then, WildRescue and International Bird Rescue were instrumental in getting pier fishing temporarily banned to reduce the number of pelicans being injured, as this ABC News coverage explains:

One of the pelicans rescued.
This time, though, it seems related to the bass, rockfish and salmon that are delighting fishermen and tourists - possibly just the shear number of people enjoying the sport...

In response to the reported increase in injured pelicans, WildRescue has been canvassing the area for injured birds, rescuing 4 from Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey last Tuesday. 

Foam in the water at Fisherman's Wharf.

We're also finding pelicans that are wet with fish 'oil' or something similar - possibly related to this foam in the water that seems to come from the processing of large catches of fish and squid.

In addition to these ailments, we are seeing many 'hatch year' pelicans - this year's young - up and down the coast. Many are healthy, but others are having a tough go at surviving. Getting hooked or wet only makes it harder on these guys. 

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