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Collecting Fishing Line
By collecting monofilament line at 14 popular fishing destinations on Whidbey Island, Sound Water Stewards help prevent entanglement and ingestion by marine life. According to the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP), monofilament fishing line lasts up to 600 years in the environment. Since stewardship is at the heart of what we do, Sound Water Stewards takes great pride in doing our part to maintain a sustainable marine ecosystem.
When researching information for Beach Watcher’s first “Problems with Plastics” brochure, we found information on the monofilament fishing line recycling/recovery program that had been started in Florida. Living on an island with many avid fishermen, it was very easy to get excited about this program, and think of all of Puget Sound being involved!! What a concept!
I ran my thoughts by Janet Hall who was running the Waste Wise program for WSU Extension, and she too thought it a great idea. So we found a company who would give us a good price on the PVC piping to make the mono containers, we made them in our garage and the program was on it’s way. Stickers were obtained from the Florida program folks who were glad we were following their lead.
We obtained permissions to install the containers at public beaches on Whidbey (Washington Parks, City Parks and Town Parks) and we were off! Several Beach Watchers were interested in the program, and some of those same people are still monitoring the containers. We have – each of us – been told at various times by fishermen that they really appreciate the fact that those containers are at their favorite fishing holes and they can dispose of their extra fishing line in them. Over the years we’ve collected well over 100 lbs of fishing line – which is quite a haul – and have recycled it at Skagit Steel & Recycling in Burlington. It’s really important that the line was recycled and not left on the beach for both people and pets to become entangled in, but the biggest gain is that birds, fish, and mammals are also not being caught in the line. Monofilament line takes hundreds of years to break down – so it’s very important to get it out of harms way.
We’ve seen similar containers in many other places, including Australia!! Good to see others are taking notice – do you think we could get all of Puget Sound to join us?