• Outdoors Outdoors

Fisherman shares video of frustrating discovery made in ocean: 'They're getting out of control'

"They head straight to the water — that's where the wind takes them."

"They head straight to the water — that's where the wind takes them."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Maine lobster fisherman Jacob Knowles (@jacob_knowles) usually makes videos showing off the huge lobsters he catches to his 3 million TikTok followers. But recently, he filmed a different type of catch — a bunch of balloons he found floating in the ocean.

"You guys let these balloons go and the wind's northerly, they all just blow right offshore. They don't just disappear. This is where they end up," Jacob told his viewers. "They're getting out of control and we've got to lay off the balloons, you guys."

@jacob__knowles The balloons are getting out of control out here guys! 🎈 #maine #lobster #ocean #fishing #seafood #interesting #didyouknow #education #educate #mainelobster #lobsterfishing #fy #fyp ♬ original sound - Jacob Knowles

Though Jacob and his crewmate Keith approached the situation with good humor, joking about how the balloons had learned to reproduce like barnacles, his message was no joke. More and more trash ends up in our oceans every day, with devastating consequences for marine life.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, more than 12 million tons of plastic finds its way into oceans every year. There, it directly kills huge numbers of fish, seabirds, and marine mammals as they get tangled in it or eat it, blocking their digestive systems.

Though it is almost impossible to truly measure or quantify how many marine animals have been harmed by plastic waste, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, fish in the North Pacific swallow 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, while hundreds of thousands of seabirds ingest plastic every year.

Party balloons are typically made from rubber or latex and can have equally deadly effects on marine life, even though they break down faster than plastic.

"There's an awful lot of confusion over balloons especially what they're made of and how they break down," said a representative for the Marine Conservation Society, per EcoWatch. "Some people believe that because latex is natural balloons made of it are harmless once let go. This just isn't the case. Latex may last for up to four years in the marine environment." 

This has led some to call for the sale of balloons to be restricted in the same way that plastic straws have been restricted in many areas, per the Associated Press. Many of Jacob's TikTok followers agreed.

"Balloons should be banned.. they are wildlife killers," wrote one commenter.

"I scream when I see people release balloons in the sky! They head straight to the water that's where the wind takes them," wrote another.

Consider using eco-friendly alternatives to balloons for celebrations, and engage with local communities to support regulations that prevent balloon pollution. Organizations like The Ocean Cleanup and 4ocean are actively working toward cleaner oceans. We can all contribute to a cleaner, safer future by supporting these efforts and adopting more responsible habits.

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