Appeal to fishermen to act more responsibly
Reader John Suckling forwarded the following article to St Francis Today and we publish in a hope of raising an awareness amongst fisher folk to the importance of discarding fishing line properly “The following was received from Hugh who carries serious gravitas in the world of birds nationally and internationally. The message is graphic, powerful and relevant to our day to day pollution issues – and we have a large local fishing community who might not be aware of the dangers involved with nylon on land let alone under water.”
Below article by Hugh Chittenden
The following set of photos graphically illustrates some of the worst traits in humans, and I for one hang my head in shame at our irresponsibility, and the knock-on effects to wildlife that we profess to care for. How have we become insensitive to our surroundings? In this case, the blame for discarded fishing line lies squarely at the feet of fishermen. Not all fishermen behave irresponsibly of course, I have friends who are keen fishermen & I know they act very responsibly and would never discard a single matchstick at the water’s edge, let alone bunches of discarded fishing line. Sadly however, and judging by the amount of fishing line that one sees lying around on the margins of dams and along beaches, the majority of fishermen seem to have no concern for the way they litter! All the photos below show fishing line injuries to three separate Woolly-necked Storks. Stork Nos 1 & 2 photographed at Albert Falls Dam near Pietermaritzburg (March, 2019), and Stork No 3, photographed at Mtunzini, June, 2014.
When storks become entangled in fishing line, the line often becomes tight, stopping the flow of blood, resulting in swelling and eventually foot or toe loss. This also means that the entangled birds can no longer roost on tree branches at night as they no longer have the capability to clasp onto the branch when the wind blows.
Msinsi Holdings manage the Albert Falls and Midmar Dam resorts, and do a good job of running these facilities. However, there should be more accountability with not only keeping water margins clean of debris, but also signage to alert and educate fishermen re the dangers of items such as discarded fishing line.
Although this article was written some time back in a place a thousand kilometres from St Francis it is just as relevant here as there, for our birdlife, and indeed sea life is equally threatened by not only the nylon of fishing lines but also the hooks, sinkers and of course the plastic that pollutes our coastline.
Fishermen are urged to act more responsibly, both along coastal shore lines and at inland fishing sites.
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