Watch: Manatee tries to eat large piece of plastic

Plastics in the water have become top-of-mind for many Bay Area residents, as the amount of research about its dangers piles up.

For Michael McCarthy with See Through Canoe, the devastation of plastics in our waterways is all too real. 

McCarthy sees his share of picturesque scenery as he paddles through across the Tampa Bay, but the scene this week was slightly more distressing.

McCarthy came across a manatee calf that appeared to be chewing on a large piece of plastic. 

Armed with his camera, he recorded a short video before wrestling the plastic away from the baby. 

McCarthy is on the water often enough that he gets to know the sea life. 

He said, "I see this particular calf and his mom regularly. He's a handful as far as babies go. I call him Tater Tot."

McCarthy said it took 20 minutes to take away the plastic from Tater Tot.

"He seemed to think it was a game and each time I reached out to grab it he turned away. I eventually got it from him though. After that, he hung out by the canoe for a long while as his mother grazed close by," McCarthy said.

Image 1 of 2