Monofilament Recycling Program

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

uscg_otb

From the Spring Issue of Over The Bow – Volume 74 Issue 1 Spring

Monofilament fishing line is strong, flexible and nearly invisible when submerged in water, making it an ideal tool for fishing. These attributes, however, also make it a serious environmental hazard for both animals and humans when improperly discarded. Due to its low visibility when in water, marine wildlife commonly gets entangled in it and/or ingests it. This can lead to injury, sickness or even death for many rare marine creatures.

Animals aren’t the only creatures that can be harmed by monofilament. Humans can also get entangled in it when SCUBA diving or swimming.
Also, monofilament can wreak havoc on propellers if entwined. To compound the issue, monofilament lines take hundreds of years to decompose,
ensuring they will pose a hazard for centuries to come once in a body of water. The fishing line found that causes the problems is mostly used line, with some surprises once in a while. It could be from old fishing reel, a nasty backlash, or any reason the angler doesn’t want it.

With these issues in mind, Flotilla 71 in Port Chester, New York, decided to take action. Vice Flotilla Commander Edward Zaremba came across a monofilament recycling program sponsored by the BoatUS Foundation. He reached out to BoatUS and discovered that starting the program was as simple as buying a few lengths of PVC pipe and applying some elbow grease. BoatUS provided the signage as well as the recycling free of charge. With this knowledge in mind, Zaremba reached out to local municipalities and marinas as well as Westchester County parks. The response has been overwhelming. In less than a year Flotilla 71 has established seven monofilament collection bins in 3 locations, with plans for many more in 2016. Westchester County Parks has requested bins for all county parks that have fishing locations. Each bin has a sign explaining to the fishing public the importance of recycling monofilament line. The signs also proudly display that these facilities were established by Flotilla 71. For 2015, Flotilla 71 recycled three pounds of monofilament. This equates to 3.4 miles of monofilament being recycled rather than polluting our waterways. Flotilla 71 has fostered new relationships with waterfront facilities that previously had little or no contact with the Auxiliary, increasing awareness of the Auxiliary and its programs. The public and local municipalities are responding in preserving the fishing environments. Flotilla 71 plans to continue expanding the program as well as educating other flotillas on how they can establish their own recycling programs.

 


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