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DoE casts wide net to collect used fishing line

| 27/11/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

A fishing-line recycling bin

(CNS): The Department of Environment (DoE) has installed almost 40 fishing-line recycling bins at public docks, dive shops and fishing-supply stores across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

DoE research officer Janice Blumenthal explained the need for the special receptacles. “Entanglement in lost or discarded fishing line is one of the most severe threats to juvenile turtles in the Cayman Islands. Fishing line is nearly invisible underwater and causes drowning and severe injuries such as flipper amputations when it tangles turtles. It takes more than 600 years for line to degrade,” she said.

“The purpose of the bins is to prevent entanglement of turtles, birds and other wildlife by removing fishing line from the marine environment and from the shoreline. Collected line is recycled because even if unwanted fishing line is sent to the landfill it can continue to entangle birds and other animals.”

DoE staff and volunteers collect the line and then it is cleaned and sent overseas for recycling where it is made into artificial fish habitats and tackle boxes.

Wendy Williams, DoE environmental assessment officer, spoke of the programme’s success so far. “We have collected over 20 pounds of line from dive shops and marine-supply stores. This line was collected over a short period and is a great start to reducing the amount of unwanted fishing line in our waters.

“We would like to recognise Don Foster’s Diving and Kirk Marine as the businesses which collected the most line in the initial months after their bins were installed.”

To launch the project, the DoE invited students from across the islands to take part in a poster competition by depicting the dangers of lost and discarded fishing line to the marine environment. Designs from Delissa Sarah Tatum (age 9, West End Primary School), Aiden Powery (9, home-schooled), and Jose Daniel Unruch (15, John Gray High School) were selected from among nearly 100 entries and made into signs for the recycling bins.

Contest winners and those awarded certificates of outstanding achievement were given the opportunity to get field experience with the DoE, when they assisted with the examination of hatched turtle nests.

“We ask fishermen, divers, snorkelers, and other members of the public to assist by depositing line in the fishing line recycling bins,” Williams said. “Line which is wrapped around corals and sponges should be collected carefully in order to avoid damaging the marine environment.”

The initiative was aided by sponsorship from Atlantis Submarines, with poles donated and installed by the Caribbean Utilities Company, and additional support from the Cayman Turtle Farm.

Guidelines and maps of bin locations are available on the DoE website

 

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Category: Marine Environment

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