Don’t Give Me That Line!

The Dangers of Fishing Line to Wildlife

Among the most heartbreaking wildlife cases we see in WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital are those that could easily have been prevented. Prime examples of such preventable suffering are those patients that have become tangled in discarded fishing line and other manmade plastics.

Animals entangled in fishing line can suffer from a variety of problems. A tangled animal’s movement is restricted which can lead to drowning or starvation, vulnerability to predators, infections and even limb amputation as the animal struggles against the line. The increasingly large number of cases we see at WildCare are just the ones lucky enough to be found and rescued.

Like other forms of thoughtless behavior, discarded fishing line is also a danger to humans. There have been cases of divers who have run out of air before they were able to free themselves from entanglement. Boaters are familiar with the damage, risk and expense of line tangled in propellers or a boat’s motor or bilge pump. And of course the environment always suffers when littered. Plastic monofilament can persist in the environment for 600 years or more.

You Can Help

So this summer when you’re out and about near water, keep in mind the impacts on wildlife of discarded fishing line and hooks!

  • Rather than tossing used line in a garbage bin where it will end up tangled in a landfill, look for a fishing line recycling bin or bring your used line to WildCare or a local bait shop for recycling.
  • Tightly wrap fishing line into a bundle and tie it tightly together to eliminate loops before discarding.
  • Carefully pick up discarded line if you see it lying around and dispose of it properly.
  • If you find an animal entangled in fishing line, netting or hooks, bring it immediately to WildCare (call our hotline for assistance at 415-456-SAVE (7283) or contact your local wildlife care center to ensure the animal gets quick and effective treatment.