Wild Sea Dragon Spotted Floating By With Saddest Little Dress On

This should never happen again.

A video that's just 12 seconds long is a powerful statement about what's really happening beneath the surface of our oceans. 

Much of the plastic debris polluting the oceans is too small to be seen — but what a marine biologist captured during an excursion underwater is a bleak reminder. 

Sea dragon caught in plastic bag
Facebook/Sheree Marris

The video, shot by marine biologist Sharee Marris, shows a sea dragon, a kind of animal related to the sea horse, near Portsea Pier, a habitat off Australia famous for weedy sea dragon sightings. The animal is drifting along over a tangle of underwater grasses, caught in something that at first looks like a kind of garment that has become caught around his little body.

A closer look reveals the little dress to be a plastic bag.

Sea dragon caught in plastic bag
Facebook/Sheree Marris

Scientists are still trying to understand how so much plastic in the oceans will impact ocean life and human health in the long term; it's expected that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

"We don't even know the long-term effects of microplastic getting into marine fish," Colby Loucks, senior director of the Wildlife Conservation Program at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), previously told The Dodo. "Microplastic gets into larger and larger fish as it is absorbed into smaller sea life. That's an issue that certainly needs more research. How that might impact larger fish and how it could get to us and affect us is an unknown."

Even though the footage of this sea dragon was captured two years ago, the haunting image is still having an impact — it continues to be shared and discussed, and hopefully it is helping people rethink their use of plastics.

Thankfully, the marine biologist did manage to free the animal from the bag just after the video was taken.