What happens to discarded fishing line?

Fishing line is one of the most important tools in recreational fishing, but did you know that discarded fishing line can cause serious harm to aquatic wildlife? Every year, tons of fishing line is discarded into our lakes, rivers, and seas, and it is estimated that this litter can take hundreds of years to decompose.

When discarded fishing line is left in the water, it can cause a range of problems for aquatic wildlife. Fish, turtles, and other marine creatures can become entangled in the line, which can restrict their movement and lead to severe injuries or death. Birds are also at risk, as they may become entangled in the line while looking for food or trying to build nests. When discarded fishing line is left on shorelines or beaches, it can be dangerous for land wildlife like birds and small mammals, such as hares or woodchucks.

In addition to entanglement, discarded fishing line can also cause pollution. When fishing line is left in the water, it can break down into small pieces over time, releasing harmful plastic particles into the ecosystem. These microplastics can harm aquatic animals, contaminate water, and ultimately, cause health problems for humans when we consume contaminated fish and seafood.

But what can we do to reduce the harm caused by discarded fishing line? To start with, anglers can make a conscious effort to dispose of their fishing line properly. This means either reeling in the line or cutting it off when it gets tangled on underwater objects like weeds or rocks and taking it home for disposal.

If you come across discarded fishing line, you can help by picking it up and properly disposing of it. Many marinas and outdoor supply stores have fishing line disposal bins. It’s important to never throw fishing line in the trash, as it can easily get caught up in machinery at waste management facilities and cause potential risks to workers.

By working together, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts can help reduce the harm caused by discarded fishing line. Let’s enjoy our favorite recreational activities while actively protecting the environment and the creatures that call it home.

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