Discarded fishing line is a hazard to pets and wildlife

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Old fishing line is dangerous to pets and wildlife and should always be disposed of properly. (Photo by Mike Schoonveld)

Recently, a kayaker was exploring a small island on the lake she was paddling with her two small dogs. One of the dogs ate a dead fish it found on shore and it also swallowed a hook and partially swallowed a long section of monofilament line attached to the fish. The veterinarian who performed surgery to remove them said the hook was dangerous in the animal’s stomach. But the ingested fishing line also posed serious dangers to the digestive system.

Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence, but the hazards for wildlife, pets and people from lost or discarded fishing lines do occur. It’s up to each angler to recover lines and properly dispose of what is no longer useful.

Each time a lake shore or river side clean-up occurs, some lost or discarded monofilament fishing line is found. Monofilament and fluorocarbon line does not readily degrade. Even if the animals don’t eat the line, they can get entangled in old lines, injured or killed.

The line and 1½-inch hook the dog ingested likely came from a fish that broke the line for some unlucky fisherman. That happens to beginners as well as expert anglers.

Anglers often need to strip off some line when fishing due to tangles or nicks in the line and most change the line on their reels once or twice each year. Whether it’s a 10-foot long section or a 100 yards of old line peeled from a reel, make sure it’s put in the trash or saved to be put in a recycling program – but not just any recycling program.

Fishing line is a high density plastic and requires a special recycling process. It cannot go into most regular household recycling bins. Instead, it should be brought to an outdoor recycling bin often located at marinas, boat ramps or participating tackle shops. If you must dispose of old line in household garbage, either chop it into small lengths or wad it tightly and stick it inside some other trash being discarded. Even at a landfill, scavenging animals can become entangled.

As important as properly dealing with your own used fishing line, be proactive whenever you spot any lost or discarded line. Pick it up, pack it with you. Then either recycle or dispose of properly.

The animals will thank you.

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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