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SeaWorld hoping to find, rescue sea lion caught in fishing net in Oceanside Harbor

Sea lion spotted with fishing net around neck in Oceanside Harbor
Posted at 3:55 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 20:21:51-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - The search is on for a sea lion spotted on a dock in Oceanside with fish netting wrapped tightly around its neck.

Even from a distance away, Sharon Bagley knew something wasn't right, as she kayaked in Oceanside Harbor Saturday evening. As she got close to a dock next to the sea lion platform, she saw netting around a sea lion's neck.

“Definitely digging into its pelt and skin, and it's raw and pink,” said Bagley. “It’s heartbreaking.”

She tells ABC 10News the sea lion was tangled in three to four feet of fishing net, part of it wrapped around its neck.

“Probably embedded about a half-inch … a raw open wound,” said Bagley.

She says the sea lion appeared lethargic, not bothering with a typical warning bark when she got close.

Bagley and several friends contacted SeaWorld that night. SeaWorld spokesperson Tracy Spahr says the sea lion is an adult weighing between 400 and 500 lbs. Spahr says although the severity of the situation is hard to gauge without a closer look, the sea lion appears to be eating and breathing well, and the situation isn’t immediately life-threatening.

According to SeaWorld, Harbor Police and lifeguards are looking out for the sea lion.

The rescue itself could turn into a long, complicated process. Because the sea lion has to be darted and sedated, the setting has to be just right, like a beach. On a dock, for instance, a sedated sea lion could lunge into the water and drown.

Among those now trying to find the sea lion is Bagley.

“I’m pretty determined. I go every day, sometimes twice a day. If I can play a role, happy to do it, so he doesn't suffer,” said Bagley

If you do spot the sea lion, you’re asked to contact the SeaWorld Rescue Team at 1-800-541-SEAL (7325) or