Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph Blog Discarded Fishing Line Kills Wildlife! – Dr. Ellen's Blog

Discarded Fishing Line Kills Wildlife!

Posted on September 18, 2015 By

Little thought is given to snipping monofilament fishing line line when it gets tangled in shoreline trees and shrubs, or when it becomes snagged on submerged vegetation.

A typical response is “Darn, that was my favorite lure!”

Monofilament fishing line is by far the most dangerous kind of debris encountered by wildlife. Discarded fishing line routinely entangles and kills birds, fish, turtles, frogs, and small mammals; and the hooks that are attached to the snagged line cause internal bleeding if swallowed. Both common and protected species of birds are found with fishing line tangled around their legs, wings and beaks. And many have been found hanging upside down in trees, exhausted after hours of struggling to extricate themselves.

The restricted ability to move leads to drowning, starvation, vulnerability to predators, infections and even limb amputation as the animal struggles against the line.

Monofilament line is also not biodegradable. It therefore presents serious environmental hazards for years to come: it relentlessly imperils, not only river wildlife, but even tubers and swimmers, and it gets caught in propellers and damages outboard motors.

Retrieve all snagged monofilament line wherever you fish, and then dispose of it properly.

If a [Monofilament Recycle Bin] is not available, cut the line into six-inch long strands before it is deposited in a trash can, just as one should always cut up plastic six-pack rings that also kill many wildlife.

fishingline01A Great Blue Heron with its tongue entangled by line
PHOTO CREDIT: Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary

fishingline03A Cormorant hanging in the trees by fishing line
PHOTO CREDIT: George Cathcart

fishingline04A Sea turtle entangled in ropes and fishing line
PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Johnson

fishingline02The wing of a marine bird entangled with fishing line
PHOTO CREDIT: In Defense of Animals