Responsible disposal of fishing gear

radiograph of cormorant who has swallowed a hook and sinker
Radiograph showing a hook and sinker swallowed by a cormorant. Photo courtesy of Pelican and Seabird Rescue

Discarded fishing gear can injure animals, including sea birds.

An increasing number of rescued seabirds are found entangled in recreational fishing gear, which can cause serious injuries including fatalities.

Injury occurs when fishing lines are caught on limbs and wings, or when hooks are swallowed. Braided and gelspun fishing lines can cause severe injuries due to their strength and small diameter.

What's being done?

In conjunction with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), we are funding a project to promote responsible removal of discarded fishing gear at popular fishing locations in northern Moreton Bay.

We are recording the species and number of birds being entangled, and where it occurs, to help understand and prevent it in the future.

So far, we have found the majority of entanglements involve seabirds such as seagulls, terns, pelicans, cormorants and darters. Other species such as magpies and ibis are also affected.

What can you do?

Be a responsible fisher by disposing of your unwanted fishing gear in Fishing Line Recovery Bins or other suitable bins.

The bins can take fishing gear such as lines and hooks, as well as bait bags.

The bins have been placed at popular fishing spots in northern Moreton Bay, including the Bongaree Jetty, the Woody Point Jetty, the fishing platforms on the Ted Smout Bridge, and local boat ramps.

The rubbish from the bins is transported to waste facilities in sturdy bags so that ibis and other scavengers aren't affected by the bin contents at waste transfer stations. Hooks and sinkers are recycled where appropriate.

Who do you call if a bird is injured?

Report injured birds to the RSPCA Queensland emergency hotline on 1300 264 625. The RSPCA will then alert a seabird rescue agency.

Special thanks go to the agencies supporting and involved in the project:

Further information

For further information on this project, contact us.

Related information:

Last updated 13 March 2013