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Fishing litter

Recreational fishing, like many human activities, generates an increasing amount of litter.

Much of the refuse in coastal waters comes from cities, washed into drains that flow to the ocean, but rubbish discarded by shore-based fishermen or litter washed overboard or thrown from boats also contributes to the problem.

Monofilament fishing line is the most common form of fishing litter. Plastic shopping and garbage bags, bait bags, fishing hooks, packing tape, plastic rope, plastic six pack rings, rings from drink bottles and bait strips, bottles and cans are also commonly discarded items.

Fishing litter reduces the appeal of the waterways and can also harm the environment.

Aquatic wildlife can mistake plastics and other litter, such as cigarette butts, for food. Eating litter disrupts their digestive functions, causing starvation from feeling full and poisoning from cigarette butts.

Fish and birds can become tangled in discarded litter such as fishing line and netting, while small fish can become trapped in cans and bottles.

And watch out for discarded hooks are uncovered by wind, rain and the movement of tides.

For future enjoyable fishing, everyone can play a part:

• be aware that plastics, such as bait bags and plastic shopping bags, and food wrappers can easily blow away or overboard so be prepared with a container or strong garbage bag to store these items.

• if you are a smoker, carry and use a personal ashtray for your cigarette butts.

• collect all fishing litter including hooks, sinkers, fishing line, bait bags and general rubbish such as food scraps, food containers, cans bottles and plastic for safe disposal at home.

• pick up any litter you see in the water or on land and encourage other people to pick up their own litter.

• report all sightings of animals, birds and fish that are entangled to the DPIW Wildlife Management branch ph 6233 6556.