Every year millions of anglers hit the water in search of fish and in doing so we sometimes unintentionally leave behind fishing line due to snags and break-offs. What you my not be considering when this happens is how this severely affects the wildlife that also uses that body of water.
One of the major problems with fishing lines left adrift in aquatic environments is entanglement. Sea birds such as the osprey and pelican can become tangled up in fishing line. When this happens, they are unable to fly, making predatory hunting impossible. Without food, the animals inevitably die.
Hooks left on fishing lines pose a particularly cruel and painful danger. According to the International Bird Rescue and Research Center, death by monofilament fishing line is slow and lingering. The hooks get caught up in the birds beaks, and the fishing line causes blockages and ligation of the alimentary canal.
Sea Lions and Turtles:
Fishing lines and nets that drift along the ocean floor are called "ghost nets." Every year, commercial fishing boats abandon fishing nets that can be miles in radius. These "ghost nets" kill everything in their path including fish, sea turtles, dolphins, seabirds and even whales.
Ways to help prevent this:
First off, the number one way to avoid these unnecessary fatalities is to pick up any used fishing line that you break off or that you see lying around and dispose of it properly. Many state parks have disposal containers for fishing line.
There are some pretty cool products on the market such as the Mono Master made to help you dispose of your used line. I think that this seems like an awesome product and it is small enough that you can attach it to your PFD. I just received mine in the mail and will be doing a review in the coming month.
Biodegradable fishing line is a very cool product that is designed to breakdown within 6 years. 6 years may seem like a long time but it is nothing compared to the 600 years that it takes for normal monofilament to break down. I know that many of us use braid and fluorocarbon but I think that you should certainly consider switching over when the fishing conditions allow for it.
We here at YakAngler just want to remind you that the earth is not disposable so please take care of it. If you have any questions regarding sustainable fishing please contact us, we have several Pro-Staff members that no only fish using these methods but that also work in the conservation industry.