Warning as metres of fishing line dumped across Sydney Harbour
Line has been found tangled around birds, causing horrific injuries.
Dozens of metres of fishing line is being regularly dumped around Sydney Harbour, killing at least one seabird and putting other wildlife at risk.
Images provided to Yahoo News Australia show a dead seagull with a line and three-hooked lure embedded around its feet at Barangaroo foreshore park. “Its legs were hooked together. It was impossible for the bird to get out of it,” a witness said.
“I’m just picking up line everywhere. There was pigeon entangled nearby last week.”
But NSW animal rescue group WIRES has revealed the problem is not just confined to Sydney and it's getting worse. “WIRES is seeing increasing numbers of native wildlife impacted by fishing line and plastic netting entanglement including hooks being swallowed,” a spokesperson said.
The horrifying images showing a pelican, magpie, black swan, corella and a duck all impacted by discarded fishing line. A separate image shows an X-ray of a native turtle with two hooks in its stomach.
Responding with concern to the growing number of fishing-related rescues, WIRES is pleading with anglers to do the right thing. "We are simply asking the public to please always fish responsibly and dispose of unwanted or damaged fishing line and tackle into the nearest council bins or wrap them up and dispose in your bins at home.”
Who is responsible for cleaning up dumped fishing line?
The park where the dead seagull was found is close to Millers Point where dozens of men stay up overnight angling for a fish.
While it's the responsibility of fishermen to clean up their line, providing rubbish bins is usually the responsibility of council – however, in Sydney jurisdiction becomes confusing. While the City of Sydney provides bins in nearby streets, the wharves from which the fishermen sink their lures are managed by the state government.
“While our cleansing crews service the streets and public spaces around Dawes and Millers Point, we do not have bins or signs at the wharves as they are outside our jurisdiction,” a City of Sydney spokesperson said.
“We recognise the environmental importance of a clean and healthy harbour and we do work across the areas of the city where we do have a responsibility to minimise the litter and pollutants that flow into waterways.”
Authorities respond to fishing line concerns
The NSW department of fisheries issued a response to the issue, saying fishing is not permitted around the Barangaroo precinct and a public awareness campaign has been run at nearby Walsh Bay, where two bins have been placed near piers. It plans to work with councils to roll out fishing line recycling bins.
"Fisheries actively promotes responsible fishing practices to minimise impact on the environment, reduce unintended wildlife interactions, decrease fishing related marine debris and to encourage fishers to clean up after themselves," a spokesperson said.
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