NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

“What on Earth?” Information Helps Solve a Mystery (Adam Ratner, guest blogger)

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By Adam Ratner, The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, CA

Sunbuddy: Northern elephant seal male pup

Sunbuddy was rescued by The Marine Mammal Center on May 9, 2010 from Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, CA.  He had cuts on his hip and was very underweight. Once at the Center, our veterinarians found and removed a piece of plastic caught in his throat.

With the help of information from the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s “What on Earth?” column, it was determined that the plastic piece was part of a hagfish or eel trap.  Sunbuddy released on June 6, 2010 at Point Lobos State Reserve, Monterey County, CA. 

Learn more about Sunbuddy and other pinniped patients at

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

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