Most fishing line is non-biodegradable and can last hundreds of years in landfills. Line is often left in nature because people get their lines snagged on something and then have to cut the line, or are pulling too hard and the line snaps after time with currents in the water this line washes up on shore. It may seem harmless as it isn’t a lot of line but because most fishing line is clear and thin, which makes it very difficult for birds and animals to see it. They can then easily brush up against it and become entangled. Once entangled they can then become injured, drown, strangled or even starve to death. Many animals often ingest fishing line which can sometimes have a hook attached to it, so you can only imagine the harm that can do.
Just think a baby bird wounded before its first flight because its wings are caught in the line that mama has made her nest out of; animals entangled in landfills and didn’t see the line as they were walking around scavenging for their food; or even worse swallowing the line with the hook still attached because it was near some food that they wanted to eat. This strong plastic can restrict their airways, cut their flesh or leave them immobile they become tangled that they starve to death.
How Can We Help?
Recycle our single filament fishing line such as, monofilament and fluorocarbon. Did you know it takes monofilament fishing line 600 years to break down!
What Is Monofilament?
Monofilament or “mono” for short is a single strand of material that is made of a strong, flexible plastic. This can come clear or tinted in many different colours, and is one of the most popular types of fishing line used today.
Why Is It So Popular?
Plain and simple: it’s easy to use! Due to a combination of its flexible nature, it is easier to cast than stiffer lines. Mono is knot friendly making it easy to tie knots, and it is inexpensive making it the most affordable of all line choices. This is why it is a great choice for everyone from seasoned veteran Anglers to first time Anglers!
How Is The Line Recycled?
The monofilament fishing line is collected by volunteers, cleaned of hooks, leaders, weights and any other trash that may of collected on it . It is then shipped to the Berkley Pure Fishing Company in Iowa. Berkley then melts the line down into raw plastic pellets that can then be made into other plastic products such as spools for line, tackle boxes and fish habitats.
Not all fishing line can be recycled, only fishing line that is a single filament, nylon product may be recycled (monofilament and fluorocarbon.) Any fishing line that is braided or contains wire unfortunately can not be recycled as well as line that has a lot of growth or plant material on it. For this type of line, cut it up into small pieces (around 6 inches) and place in a covered trash can so birds and other animals can not get at it.
Clear Your Gear is Canada’s Volunteer Fishing Line Recycling Network. It was introduced into Canada by Judy Robertson of Wildlife Haven in Ile Des Chenes, Manitoba. In 2016 with seed funding from TransCanada, prototype receptacles were manufactured. This receptacles also come with a black push top so cavity nesting critters such as woodpeckers and owls won’t go in and build a nest. This amazing organization was made to reduce the amount of monofilament line and fishing gear that is left in our environment which then becomes detrimental to wildlife. Clear Your Gear typically installs around 300 units a year but partway through 2021 there was already a wait list for 75 receptacles. You can find these receptacles across Canada at many lakes, marinas, The Fishin Hole, Cabela’s, as well as many other fishing and outdoor stores. If you would like to be a volunteer, sponsor, donate or if you don’t have one in your area and think you should, then head on over to their website at www.clearyourgear.ca and fill out one of the forms.
I am a firm believer to leave your fishing spot cleaner than when you arrived. We always bring a bag with us to collect garbage as well as one to collect any line left on shore. Since we don’t have a line collection place up here in Northern BC (I have put a request in for one) we just drop off our collected line at Cabela’s or The Fishin Hole anytime we visit those places (any reason to visit a fishing store is a good one.) They then mail all the line they have collected to Berkley.
This is our bag of line that we have been collecting since October. We dropped a big one off at Cabela’s while in Manitoba in September so have started our collection again!
In The United States
There have been lots of retailers as well as marinas that have provided their support by displaying over 17,000 recycling collection bins across the country. Since 1990, the Berkley Conservation Institute and the help of anglers everywhere, Berkley has recycled more than 9 million miles worth of fishing line! That is enough line to fill two reels for every Angler in America!
If you see any line on the ground and isn’t yours please pick it up. I know its not your responsibility to clean up after other Anglers, but at least do it for the wildlife, they don’t know any better and don’t deserve to die over laziness. Pick it up and drop it in a recycling collection bin or mail it directly to:
Berkley Recycling, 1900 18th Street, Spirit Lake, Iowa 51360