Discarded Monofilament Line Injures, Kills Wildlife


Discarded Monofilament Line Injures, Kills Wildlife

Fishing is an important part of the Florida lifestyle as well as its economy. To ensure that this activity doesn’t lead to problems for birds and other wildlife, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants anglers to know about the potential hazards and sure-fire solutions. FWC biologists warn that monofilament fishing line and fishing hooks can snag and entangle birds, sea turtles and manatees, leading to injury and even death.

Many different species of wildlife can be impacted by discarded monifilament line. Along the coast, manatees, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and rays have been seen entangled in line. FWC researchers note that clumps of monofilament line are the most common foreign object found during manatee necropsies. Aside from aquatic wildlife, species of wading birds and shorebirds are also affected by monofilament line. These birds frequent piers and other fishing hotspots, where they are often hooked accidentally when trying to grab bait off an angler’s line. Additionally, discarded monofilament line hanging from trees, piers and other structures can ensnare birds. Once entangled, birds can have a difficult to impossible time flying and feeding.

“It is not uncommon to find dead pelicans entangled with fishing line and hooks,” said FWC biologist Ricardo Zambrano.

“People can prevent injury and death to wildlife by committing to stop litter of tackle and monofilament line.”

Tackle should be checked frequently for frayed line that may easily break. Unwanted or damaged line should be stored safely and securely until it can be placed in a recycling bin. If you see discarded monofilament line while you are out, pick it up, secure it and dispose of it appropriately. The FWC and partner agencies provide monofilament-recycling stations at many locations and support efforts by the Keep America Fishing Foundation’s “PITCH IT” campaign to ensure that soft plastic lures are also removed from the ecosystem.

For more information on the statewide Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program, visit mrrp.MyFWC.com.

If you come across entangled or distressed wildlife you can contact a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator by going to MyFWC.com/WildlifeHabitats and selecting “Wildlife Assistance” then “Rehabilitators on This List.” If you do accidentally hook a pelican or other bird, you should avoid cutting the line. Gently remove the hook if you feel confident you can do so without causing harm to yourself or the bird. If you cannot safely remove the hook and line, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator. For a list of wildlife rehabilitators in your area, you can also contact any of the FWC’s five regional offices by going to MyFWC.com/About and selecting “Inside FWC.”

Entangled, injured, distressed, sick or dead protected species, such as manatees and marine turtles, should be reported to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-3922 (FWCC) or dial #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone, or text Tip@MyFWC.com.

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