OWLS HEAD — A young seal has two local lobstermen to thank for its survival.

Jeremy Willey, of Owls Head, and Jeffery Dorr Jr., of Union, were ready to haul traps Friday morning about 10 to 12 miles southwest of Matinicus Island Rock when they spotted something in the water. It turned out to be a young seal entangled in a groundfishing net.

The seal was hauled aboard the lobster boat and Willey began cutting away the net.

Dorr took out his camera and filmed the effort. Dorr posted the two-minute, 41-second video to his Facebook page. That page has since been viewed nearly 1.2 million times.

“I didn’t think it was anything huge,” Willey said, until he began hearing from many people who had watched it.

Willey said he does not even use Facebook.


This image was taken from a video made by Jeffery Dorr Jr. of the rescue of a seal pup on Friday.

The seal was in fine shape, he said. Once it was freed from the net, the seal was put back in the water.

Willey said it is not uncommon to see seals that far offshore, adding he has seen some even 20 miles farther off the coast.

“They will go where the fish are,” he said.

Floating debris has become a problem, and he said the day after rescuing the seal, rope got caught around his boat’s propeller.

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