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Scientists Identify Cause of the "Sea Fangle' Phenomenon
In a paper published this week in Biological Conservation, a team at the University of Plymouth has warned that 'ghost fishing' – where plastic fishing line and other pollutants entangle marine life – is having an impact upon species such as the Pink Sea Fan.

It follows the discovery of hundreds of 'sea fangles' – a term given to sea fans wrapped up in a ball of debris – on beaches across the region over the last decade, including Newquay, Chesil Beach and Wembury.
Local naturalists and beachcombers alerted University researchers to the presence of hundreds of washed up Pink Sea Fans in 2014, and bundles of sea fangles were collected from Newquay, Wembury and Chesil Beach in January and February 2015 and taken to the laboratory for analysis.

A total of 75 fangles were selected, and photographed, weighed, measured and dissected so that an analysis could be made of the debris contained therein. They ranged in size from 12-77.5 centimetres, and weighed between 12-820 grammes.

Almost all of the tangled bundles contained a central skeletal remain of a Pink Sea Fan, and some contained up to 46 additional fans within the tangle. There was a diverse array of marine debris, including balloons, tights, clothes, plastics, metals and glass fragments from domestic sources. The amount of fishing gear identified was much greater, and included monofilament, gill net (fine), trawl net (thick), fishing line and rope.

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