A great part of fishing is being able to spend time along our fantastic waterways and diverse aquatic environments.
No one likes to see fishing spots tarnished with broken glass, plastic bags and tangled lines when they’re fishing. Litter left behind by anglers comes under scrutiny from other passionate anglers, land owners, council workers and the general public from time to time. Let’s get together and do something about it!
Impacts of Fishing Litter
Plastics and fishing do not mix. Plastics are not easily not easily biodegradable and may stay in the environment for a very long time. These pose a danger to a range of aquatic animals which may swallow plastics or become tangled. Even outboard engines on boats become overheated and may be seriously damaged when a floating plastic bag clogs the water intake.
Tangled fishing line can trap birds and other animals and Discarded hooks which still have fragments of bait on them may be swallowed by birds or other animals. Hooks left on beaches pose an obvious danger to other beach users.
Any glass bottles left behind are likely to get broken. This poses a threat to livestock, wild animals and humans Sinking bottles and cans puts them out of sight but creates hazards for small fish and crustaceans which may take up residence inside and grow too large to be able to get out.
What to do
Let’s start at home. Most of the fishing tackle and bait you purchase come in some sort of plastic packaging, plus the shopping bag. Take these items out their packaging and dispose of properly. Store them in your tackle box or store them in a backpack, or lidded esky or bucket. Less plastic taken out to your favourite fishing spot or are securely stored away from the wind means we are halfway there!
Depending on where you are going fishing be mindful there may not be any bins.
Don’t forget that a huge amount of the litter that is seen floating in estuaries around urban areas has found its way there through the stormwater system. Yes, that drain outside your home or up the street. Everything that falls to the ground or gets blown away in the wind has the potential to end up in our waterways.
If you get any tangles, cut your line and place it in a bin, preferably a Seal the Loop Fishing Line disposal unit. If it’s a huge tangle, cut the line into smaller pieces before you bin it:
When cleaning fish take care not to discard offal which may contain hooks
Take a responsible approach to discarding fish remains and unwanted bait. Throwing this material in waterways only attracts scavenger species.
Store rubbish securely until you return to shore and don’t throw rubbish overboard. If some rubbish does end up in the water, take the time to retrieve it.
Litter and the Law
Under Victoria’s Environment Protection Act 1970, littering is illegal. The Act authorises EPA, local government, police and other litter enforcement agencies to take action against offenders. These agencies generally issue ‘on the spot’ fines, although the matter may end up in court.
To find out more about litter issues in Victoria check out the Victorian Litter Action Alliance (VLAA)