What a mess. A recycling success story

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thank you, thank you anglers! Though you were terribly frustrated with your tangled fishing line, you did the right thing. You put that deplorable mess into one of our collection bins by your fishing spot. Then along came one of us — members of the Virginia Master Naturalist Historic Southside Chapter — and retrieved all the goodies inside that bin. The unwanted hooks, lures, sinkers and leaders were separated out from the prize — tangled monofilament fishing line. We then sent the line to Iowa where Berkley Recycling turns it into items such as park benches and fish habitat crates that can be installed under piers. Since 1990 they have collected over 9 million miles of line for recycling.

Keeping this line out of the environment has helped prevent entanglement of wildlife such as Blue Herons and Yellow Slider turtles. This usually results in the death of the animals unless they are rescued. Freshwater monofilament line is just as deadly as the saltwater variety of nets and line that we see on the news often. That fishing gear entangles everything from whales to sea turtles. Our critters just happen to be the smaller variety of turtles, birds and other freshwater creatures. They are just as valuable to our ecosystems as the fish you catch.

So, if you see a bin where you fish, please feed it and not the environment. If you don’t see a bin, please take your line with you and dispose of it properly. If you would like to build a bin and install it at your favorite fishing hole, Boat U.S.org has instructions on its website. Just type in Reel In & Recycle into their search box. Make sure you have permission from the landowner. It took us all of 20 minutes to build 5 tubes. Above all, catch lots of fish and enjoy the pleasant environment around your fishing hole. Treat it with care and it will reward you.

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