by Jarrod Day
In today’s era I still can’t believe that so many of our fishing beaches and waterways continually become littered by those too lazy to take their rubbish home.
On a recent stroll along a known land based fishing beach in Victoria I was appalled to find discarded bait packets and fishing rod wrappers.
Why is this so? Why cant people take there rubbish home? I would think that with so much focus on looking after our environment, recreational anglers would at least have the decency to take their rubbish home with them, it is not that hard.
This also includes boat anglers; throwing glass bottles and empty cans over the side. While their excuse may be that 'they may break down over time', this isn’t a reason to toss it overboard; this is still littering.
Those that toss cigarette butts into the water and think nothing of it really need to take a good look at themselves.
This issue is a continuing problem that seems to not get any better.
We as anglers need to combat this recurring problem and should you see someone dropping rubbish into the waterways or even on the ground for that matter should stand up and say something or call the local authorities.
The more people that can remind those that don’t care, the more people may listen and do the right thing.
Tossing rubbish into our waterways not only harms the environment but also kills and injures fish and wildlife.
Facts show that our beaches and waterways are becoming increasing littered. A 1991 survey of 26 remote Great Barrier Reef islands found 5656 items of rubbish. Among the plastic, glass and metal debris were 725 glass bottles, 1066 plastic fragments, 247 aluminum cans and plastic cups, 919 thongs and one bar fridge.
This is not on!
The below information has been copied from Queensland Department of Environment website.
Plastics make up about 60 percent of rubbish are the worst offenders. An estimated 100 000 marine mammals and turtles are killed by plastic litter every year around the world.
With seven billion tonnes of debris entering the world's oceans annually, most of it long-lasting plastic, there's a lot of potential for harm to our birds and marine mammals. Turtles, fish, birds, dolphins, seals and other marine mammals have all fallen victim to plastic.
Fishing line, netting, rope, bait box packaging bands and so on trap and strangle animals. Large marine animals such as seals and dolphins can starve to death when muzzled by plastic litter.
Plastic is also eaten. A dead pygmy sperm whale found on a New South Wales beach had a plug of plastic bags in its gut. Presumably these items were mistaken for squid, the sperm whale's main food. A sperm whale found dead on a North American beach was discovered to have starved to death because a plastic gallon bottle which it had swallowed had plugged its small intestine. The animal was full of plastic material ranging from other plastic bottles to 12m of nylon rope.
Plastic bags on the ocean floor take 10-20 years to decompose. Plastic bottles take much longer. Because of this, one piece can kill more than one animal. An animal killed by swallowing plastic will decompose long before the plastic does, leaving the plastic free to kill again.
What you can do: If you go fishing, make sure you take your entire rubbish home with you. That means all your bait bags and lunch wrappers and cans as well as any snagged line and worn-out gear like old nets.
Tell your friends and family—or anyone you see littering—about the dangers of rubbish to marine animals and encourage them to do the right thing with litter.
Here is a link to a document released by Fish care on fishing and rubbish.