Dispose of fishing gear in bins to protect seabirds

DAFF Fishing Line Recovery Bin at boat ramp
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Recreational fishers are being encouraged to responsibly dispose of unwanted fishing gear to protect seabirds from serious injury.

Fisheries biologist with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Matthew Campbell is leading a research and extension project that is trialling fishing line recovery bins at popular jetties and boat ramps across northern Moreton Bay.

'Wildlife rescue agencies are reporting an increasing number of rescued seabirds being found entangled in discarded recreational fishing gear,' Mr Campbell said.

'Seabirds can suffer terrible injuries when fishing lines are caught on limbs and wings or when hooks and other tackle are swallowed.

'The majority of entanglements involve seagulls, pelicans, terns, cormorants and darters although other species such as ibis and magpies have also been affected.

'While most fishers do the right thing by disposing of unwanted fishing gear in a responsible manner, those that dump it in the water or on shore are putting seabirds at risk.'

Mr Campbell said the bins were being installed by DAFF with the support of peak recreational fishing body Sunfish Queensland and funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

'The bins can be found at popular shore-based fishing sites including Redcliffe, Woody Point and Bongaree jetties, Ted Smout Bridge and a number of local boat ramps,' he said.

'Fishers can dispose of fishing line, hooks and plastic bait bags in the bins.

'The bin contents are then secured in sturdy canvas bags for disposal at council waste facilities to prevent scavenging birds such as ibis from being affected by bin contents.

'Hooks and sinkers are recycled where appropriate.'

Mr Campbell said the research component of the project would look into the species and number of birds being entangled and other methods to reduce or prevent the incidence of injuries from occurring.

Reports about injured birds should be made to the RSPCA hotline on 1300 264 625, who will alert a seabird rescue agency.

For more tips on responsible fishing visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or follow www.facebook.com/Fisheries Queensland or www.twitter.com/fisheriesQLD.