I was scuba diving at the Lake Travis Cleanup last week with my amazing troop, which was super fun! But here is what wasn't:
I found some fishing line hooked to a dead bush. I started bundling it up, but it was really hard with the garden gloves I was wearing (because some trash we found was really yucky!). I put it in my bag and went onward, not realizing that I hadn’t gotten all of it, and there was some trailing behind me. It quickly got tangled up in my fins. Let me tell you, it is not fun when a nearly invisible string ties up your feet when you are 20 feet underwater.
Afterwards, I started thinking, “What can we do about all of this fishing line?”
So I researched. As it turns out, there are a couple of programs that are trying to help. In the U.K., a wildlife rehabilitator treats 8,000 animals with fishing related injuries. In Massachusetts, people have been handing out repurposed tennis balls to stick fishing line in. Fishing For Litter, also in Europe, hands out bags to the commercial fishermen, and they dump not only their lines and nets, but also any marine debris that got caught. In Florida they made a program to collect and melt down monofilament line to recycle.
If you fish, it is important to stay away from bushes and trees to avoid entanglement in which you have to cut the line. Cut any fishing line you are throwing away into small pieces. Make sure no other animal gets to your baited tackle, because they could get the hook lodged in them.
If you don’t fish, you could still make a difference: