MARTHA’S VINEYARD, Mass. (WHDH) — A fisherman on Martha’s Vineyard rescued a seal tangled in a mess of fishing net and fishing line despite wildlife experts urging people not to touch the aquatic animals.
Anthony Marcantonio says he was driving along the shoreline of Chappaquiddick to go fishing and noticed what looked like a rock.
“I was just cruising along for a while and caught that out of the corner of my eye,” he recalled.
Marcantonio moved closer and realized it was a seal tangled up in fishing net and line.
“When I first approached him, he was definitely skeptical of who I was and why I was coming after him,” he said.
Marcantonio rushed in to save the seal, while being careful not to hurt him.
“Just tried getting control of him so he wasn’t able to get a bite on me or anything and kind of carefully cut all the rope and netting off without cutting him,” he explained.
Experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration discourage people from touching seals, saying incidents like this could have caused harm to both the animal and Marcantonio.
They urge people to contact local wildlife officials so they can take care of the animal.
“Although I think it wouldn’t have lived if I hadn’t acted, I completely agree with why they have those in place because it’s a wild animal,” Marcantonio said.
After successfully freeing the seal, it scurried off into the ocean.
“Once I got him untangled, he knew where he wanted to go and he just went right back into the water,” he recalled.
While fishing soon after, Marcantonio saw a friendly face.
“The seal popped up a few feet away from me,” he said. “I don’t know if it was the same one, but I’d like to think so.”
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