Dedicated recycling point for fishing litter opened at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre

Dedicated recycling point for fishing litter opened at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre

The recycling point has been introduced after animal charity nationally received 3,274 reports of animals affected by litter.

As the RSPCA reveals that it received 3,274 calls last year about animals affected by angling litter, it has introduced fishing tackle recycling facilities at its wildlife centres to help reduce injuries and fatalities.

Incidents reported to the RSPCA in 2018 included birds swallowing fishing hooks and entanglements in fishing line, often leading to death. Water birds were the most affected with the species with the highest numbers of calls being swans (1,684), geese (461) and ducks (283).

Staff and volunteers at the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre have been caring for a large number of birds and some of the most recent cases include:

  • A cygnet rescued from the Nottingham area on Sunday 1 September. When examined by the vets they discovered a hook in his oesophagus which was attached to a line with a further two hooks. The centre’s vet carried out surgery to remove the hook and he is now being given painkillers and antibiotics.
  • A gull found at Old Hunstanton on September 4, is also being treated after he swallowed a fishing hook which also became stuck in his oesophagus. The hook was on a line attached to a 150g weight. The weight meant the gull could not take off or fly. Vets successfully operated to remove the hook. He is also being treated with antibiotics and pain relief.
  • Vets at the centre have also been treating an adult swan which was brought in on August 16 from the Peterborough area after he was found with a hook also stuck in his neck. Vets operated and removed the hook, but the neck was severely infected and a second round of surgery was required to drain away the fluid from the wound.

Holly Barber, anti-litter campaign manager for the RSPCA said: “We’re hoping that our new recycling facilities will help reduce the terrible toll that is taken on animals by carelessly discarded fishing tackle. Our records show that water birds are particularly vulnerable to this hazardous material.

“The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don’t may not have realised how dangerous it is to animals. Discarded line in particular is a terrible hazard for wildlife, especially as it can be almost invisible.

“We received well over 3,000 reports last year about animals - mostly swans, geese and ducks - affected by hooks and lines. We hope anglers and others who may have found discarded fishing paraphernalia will help to reduce the number of these incidents by using the new recycling points at our Wildlife Centres and at other points around the UK.

“We strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra careful to ensure nothing is left behind. Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal. We ask all those who enjoy fishing to follow the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line recycling scheme to dispose of their waste tackle and line.”

Angling litter recycling points are now sited at the RSPCA’s four wildlife centres at West Hatch in Taunton, Somerset; Stapeley Grange in Nantwich, Cheshire; East Winch near King’s Lynn, Norfolk and Mallydams Wood in Hastings, East Sussex as well as hundreds of other sites throughout the UK.

Viv Shears, Co-Founder of the volunteer led Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) said “The scheme encourages anglers, whether they are freshwater, sea or fly participants, to collect any discarded line they find while fishing and drop it into one of the scheme bins around the UK. A huge amount of line is also discarded when anglers change their old lines at home and this has historically ended up in landfill sites, where it is not only a risk to scavenging wildlife but it takes hundreds of years to degrade.

“Nearly 4 million meters of fishing line has been collected and recycled in the UK since we started the ANLRS in early 2018. Anglers are, in general, very conscious of the environment they fish in, enjoy seeing the wildlife around them and strive to take their litter home with them.

“To have our line recycling points at the four RSPCA wildlife centres is fantastic news.To date over 385 line recycling points have been established in tackle shops, fisheries, coastal shops and marinas across the UK, Ireland and even some sites across 5 European countries.”

The following can be recycled:

  • Nylon Monofilament
  • Braided lines / Fly backing
  • Fly Lines

These are then recycled and turned into various products such as traffic cones, sun glasses, skateboards, wetsuits and even swimwear.

The RSPCA encourages members of the public who see discarded litter to pick it up and dispose of it safely. Their action could save an animal’s life.

Top tips include:

  • Take old fishing line and spools to recycling points in local tackle shops or fisheries. Your nearest recycling point can be found on the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) website. Alternatively, old fishing line can be posted to the address on the ANLRS page.
  • Be aware of surrounding trees – discarded line caught in foliage causes problems for wildlife.
  • Don’t leave bait unattended – always remove it from the hook and put it in a safe place.
  • Use a bait box.
  • Safely dispose of any litter you see, even if it’s not your own.

(Pictured: the x-ray of the Old Hunstanton gull)

(Pictured: the injured swan found in Peterborough)

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