All caught up: one teen tackles the problem of abandoned fishing gear

Several years ago, Rachel Lopez, now a senior at Rio Rancho High School in New Mexico, learned that large numbers of seals, whales, dolphins, turtles, and other creatures get caught in abandoned fishing nets every year. “In 2006, more than 30,000 fur seals were killed off the Pacific Coast because of [abandoned] nets. It is a growing problem,” she says. That prompted Rachel to focus her science fair project every year since then on finding a better net.

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