Save our sea life from our tackle

23 February 2017

Marine debris can be a real pain in the neck for our wildlife. But everyone can play an active part in reducing marine debris by being responsible with their trash.

One of the most common types of marine debris reported in the Midwest is discarded fishing tackle. This can result in a slow death for our wildlife – as many animals often mistake lures, floats, plastic bags and other items for food or become entangled.

It is for this reason the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) is recommending five simple things that everyone can do to help prevent fishing tackle and rubbish from becoming marine debris:

  • Avoid going into wildlife feeding and nesting areas.
  • Avoid using stainless steel hooks – which take years to break down.
  • Collect and correctly dispose of discarded fishing line, and other gear or rubbish.
  • Cut discarded fishing line into small pieces – to avoid entanglement in case birds and other animals scavenge rubbish bins.
  • If you snag your fishing line, try pulling it out from different angles before you give it up. Try not to leave anything behind.

NACC Coastal and Marine Officer Hamish Longbottom said “If you accidently hook a seabird it is important to not panic and cut the line. If possible, try to gently reel the bird in. Then place a towel or shirt over the bird’s head and eyes before carefully removing the hook or line.”

“It is also important not release the bird if the hook has been swallowed or is embedded too deeply to remove easily,” said Hamish. “Your best option is to take the bird to your local vet or wildlife carer.”

The Wildcare helpline is a telephone referral service operated by volunteers on behalf of Parks and Wildlife that provides a service for the public who find sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife and are seeking advice on where to find care for the animal.

If you’ve found injured wildlife, call the Wildcare Helpline on (08) 9474 9055. You can also find more information on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Everyone with an interest in reducing marine debris, especially plastic waste, is invited to join NACC at a special screening of the feature length social impact documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ – which is showing at 6.15pm on Wednesday 1 March at Orana Cinemas in Geraldton. Doors open at 5.30pm.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kym.Jefferies@nacc.com.au 08 9938 0124

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