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Snorkeler Spots Man’s Lost Wedding Ring Wrapped Around Fish's Body in Australia

·4-min read

Susan Prior The sand mullet fish with the gold ring around its neck

A woman is urging people to take care of the environment after she recently found a fish with a gold ring caught around its neck.

Susan Prior confirmed in a blog post on Tuesday that she was snorkeling in Emily Bay on Norfolk Island, which is located off of Australia's eastern coast, when she witnessed the unusual sight.

According to Prior — who is a writer, editor and environmental conservationist — a sand mullet was swimming through the waters on Monday with a gold wedding band lodged around its neck.

Although she had previously spotted sand mullets wearing plastic collars from juice and milk bottles — a sight she called "gut-wrenching" — Prior said this was unlike anything she had seen before.

"Yesterday, I saw another mullet with a ring collar, but this one looked a shiny metallic gold, with a lot less algal growth compared to the plastic ones," she explained on her blog.

Susan Prior A sand mullet with plastic around its neck

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Prior noted that the ring likely got caught on the fish while it was searching for food on the ocean floor.

"Sometimes these rings escape into the wild, and this is the sad consequence," she explained. "Mullet snuffle through the sand looking for food making it so easy for a ring or hair tie to flip over their noses and get stuck."

After snapping photos of the fish, Prior returned to land, where she remembered that someone had posted on a community social media page earlier this year about a man's wedding ring that had gone missing in the bay.

"I decided to see if I could find the possible owner," Prior wrote in the blog. "It didn't take long for my suspicion to be confirmed; we now have a poor mullet weighed down with someone's (expensive) gold wedding ring."

Susan Prior A sand mullet with plastic around its neck

As it turned out, the ring belonged to a man named Nathan Reeves, according to Newsweek.

Reeves lost the piece of jewelry around Christmas time while swimming at Emily Bay with his wife Suzie Quintal, the outlet reported.

In order to get the ring back for the couple, Prior told Newsweek that a group of men from the island will have to catch the fish in a net before carefully removing the object from its neck.

It'll be no easy task, as Prior noted to the outlet that the sand mullet is "very skittish and keeps on the edge of the school."

"We need to get quite a few of us in there to corral it and then use a throw net to try and catch it," she told Newsweek. "It really is going to be difficult."

Susan Prior Emily Bay on Norfolk Island

Despite the challenges, Prior said she looks forward to seeing the group help the fish and return the lost piece of jewelry to Reeves.

"Always trying to find the positives of any given situation, I see this as an incentive to encourage someone to relieve the poor fish of its handicap," she wrote on her blog. "Here's hoping we can deliver a happy ending to his story and for the owner of the wedding ring! The mullet has a life to live and it's only fair he gets to live it."

Prior also said she hopes the incident will serve "as a great opportunity to raise awareness" about keeping the waters clean.

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Per Prior, some of the best ways to do this are to snip the plastic rings that come around beverages and avoid polluting the waters — even with items like golf balls, which eventually disintegrate and pose "a serious environmental hazard."

"We all need to remain extra vigilant. And be aware of the consequences of our actions," Prior wrote on her blog. "Snip those plastic rings, try to keep hair ties in your hair and not let them float away, and don't drive golf balls into beautiful Emily. She doesn't need them."

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