Seal with fishing net wrapped around neck for TWO years finally rescued minutes from death

A SEAL was rescued minutes from drowning after suffering ‘horrendous' neck wounds.

Conservationists had spent more than two years trying to rescue a seal that had become tangled in a discarded fishing net. She was first spotted with fishing wire around her neck in 2018 by Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust.

The search had come to no avail until a member of the public reported seeing the trapped seal at Gwynver beach in west Cornwall on Wednesday. The seal was wedged between boulders and minutes away from drowning in the incoming high tide.

Land's End Coastguard Rescue Team helped British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) volunteers free the seal, which had a "horrendous" 4cm-deep neck wound from the fishing wire.

In a dramatic rescue, they had to try and free the seal with rope hoists before the incoming tide drowned her.

Dan Jarvis from BDMLR described it as an “epic, stand-out” rescue. He told BBC: “The seal was completely wedged in the boulders - they weren't really possible to move and it was a big Spring tide. Waves were splashing over the seal... This was a really lucky seal."

Once she was released the "exhausted" seal was then carried in a rescue bag to the beach where she was driven to the BDMLR Cornwall Seal Hospital.

She will be stabilised there during her first critical hours and days before moving to Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

The seal was identified as a five-year-old female and it is thought that the 4cm neck wound caused by the discarded fishing wire has significantly stunted her growth.

A Greenpeace report concluded that discarded fishing gear makes up the vast majority of plastic pollution in oceans. It is estimated that 640,000 tonnes enters the oceans every year, equivalent in weight to more than 50,000 double decker buses.

According to WWF, discarded fishing gear can continue to kill marine life for decades, or even centuries after it first enters the ocean. The organisation is calling on governments to develop a legally binding global plastic pollution treaty that addresses this threat to marine wildlife.