Fishing is a popular occurrence here on Bald Head Island. With beautiful scenery and a wide array of fish surrounding the coast, it makes for an enjoyable and relaxing hobby. This hobby has the potential to be harmful however when fishing line is not treated with proper caution. Fishing line and gear are some of the most commonly found items that wash up along beaches.
We recently received a wildlife call about two pelicans that were tangled in fishing line, nearly drowning in the surf. One had a hook pierce through its bill and the other had line so tight around its wing that it could not fly. These two were luckily able to be freed and brought to SeaBiscuit Wildlife Shelter where they were assessed and treated, but not all wildlife has the luxury. Fishing line can become easily tangled around the legs and body of wildlife, restricting their movement and survival chances. Improperly discarded hooks and tackle are often swallowed and can make eating painful or impossible depending on the position of the object.
The good news is that we can all do our part to keep Bald Head Island and the wildlife safe! When fishing or using a monofilament line, one of the best ways to reduce waste is to be prepared. Bringing a bag to toss line and hooks into until they can be properly disposed is an easy way to keep it from ending up along the shoreline. Additionally, when walking along the beach, make sure to pick up and throw away any trash and fishing line you see. The Bald Head Island Conservancy has a monofilament recycling container in our parking lot available for disposal. At home, you can cut the monofilament into segments that are less than 6 inches and throw it into the trash.
Here’s a glimpse of what we found while walking the beach:
by Heather Bariso, Coastal Environmental Science Intern