Reel recycling at the city docks

Published 10:03 pm Friday, September 28, 2012

The hook snags on a stump beneath the water’s surface. Worst-case scenario, the hook is lost, the fishing line is cut and the fisherman moves on. Worst-case scenario for the environment, however, is that the single strand of transparent plastic called monofilament will be in the water for the next 600 years.
This is the reason why a specialized container to collect monofilament has been installed on the western end of the Washington waterfront.
“(The container) gives the fishermen a place to put their tangled line or unused line instead of throwing it in the trashcan,” explained Teresa Hamilton, senior administrative support specialist with the City of Washington.
The project is a collaboration between N.C. Big Sweep, an award-winning grassroots environmental organization, and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (DCM), while funding for the containers comes from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Washington’s city docks are one of 15 locations across
the state participating in the project, all chosen because they have been certified by the DCM as clean marinas — meaning, the marinas are managed in an environmentally responsible way.
Judy Bolin, N.C. Big Sweep president, said another key reason why Washington was chosen is that the dock managers were very interested in recycling.
“It’s just been really heartwarming to see how people are so enthusiastic about it,” Bolin said.
Each year, monofilament is responsible for deaths and injury of wildlife. It’s difficult for animals to see and easy to get entangled in it. According a press release from N.C. Big Sweep, since 2000, volunteers reported only nine of the 32 animals entangled in fishing line could be released alive.
Hamilton said the container on the waterfront can hold a lot of monofilament. Once a substantial amount has been collected, amounts will be recorded and the old fishing line will be taken to a recycling center, out of harm’s way.