ANNUAL REPORT ON THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG’S CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN: PROJECT 3: ERECTING FISHING LINE BINS ALONG THE OVERSTRAND COASTLINE
Posted on the 4th January 2019
One of the other projects in the CleanMarine campaign relates to the installation of bins for the collection of fishing line along the Overstrand coastline. This project was started in South Africa by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), is partnered by Plastics SA and the materials used are kindly sponsored by DPI Plastics. These bins are currently being installed all along the Cape Whale Coast shoreline and will be supported by an extensive media campaign informing the public of the negative impact of fishing line on seabirds and other sea creatures.
Several of these fishing line bins have been set up in the past by DICT to the east of Die Plaat and at some randomly selected sites along the Overstrand coastline. Many examples of the success of these fishing line bins have already been illustrated. Members of the Great Brak River Conservancy have collected 540g of fishing line from such bins – this equals 2,16 km of fishing line. International Marine Volunteers at DICT emptied and fixed the fishing line bins along the beach at Die Plaat and collected 580g of fishing line. In a comment posted on 28 January 2019 representatives of the Nature’s Valley Trust state that “2018 was indeed a fantastic year, especially for wildlife and fishing line conflicts on beaches. Last year we were able to remove a record high of 2.49 kg of fishing line from the Nature's Valley beach. Of course this is all thanks to the concerned and environmentally aware beach users we find on NV Beach. This data is obtained from 9 Fisherman's bins situated at each and every beach entrance along Nature's Valley and the collected fishing line is cleaned and sent to Plastics|SA for processing and recycling! How amazing! Let’s keep it up and make our beaches safer for each other and our wildlife.”
Initial consultations with representatives of DICT resulted in the identification of sites along the rest of our coastline where bins should be placed. Interviews were undertaken with fishermen and people involved in regular coastal cleanups and several new sites were identified. Five bins were set up between Prawn Flats at the mouth of the Klein River estuary and a site to the east of the Hermanus cliff path and a further five were set up along the Onrus and Vermont coastlines. We express our sincere appreciation to Frank Spratt and Tom Casey for their assistance in this regard. Carl Swart identified a further four sites along the Kleinmond coastline and Jenny Parsons four sites at Pringle Bay. Five further sites were also identified along the Hermanus cliff path and bins will be set up at these sites shortly. The identification of other sites where fishing line often wash up along the Overstrand coastline is ongoing.
The GPS coordinates of all the sites where bins had been set up will be forwarded to DICT and the environmental division of the Overstrand municipality in view of continued monitoring of the success of these bins. All bins will be cleaned regularly and the contents taken to DICT for recycling purposes. The weight of the fishing line collected at each individual bin will also be recorded for research purposes.
Some of these bins have unfortunately been vandalised in other areas in the past. It was decided to monitor the ten bins set up in the Hermanus area after the summer holiday period before a decision will be taken regarding the possible reinforcement of the equipment used for affixing the bins to the poles. None of the bins were vandalised over the holiday period and just one bin was found where a bracket had broken. A decision regarding the possible addition of CleanMarine logo stickers to the bins will be taken once finality about the future of the CleanMarine campaign had been established at the BirdLife Overberg AGM 2019.
Detailed articles about the environmental problems created by fishing line in the coastal environment and an introduction on the purpose of the fishing line bins were published extensively. Articles were published on the BirdLife Overberg website, our social media platforms, the Village News and the Hermanus Times. The articles were also forwarded to several smaller local newspapers. These issues were also highlighted in an interview with Whale Coast FM at the beginning of the summer holiday period. It is recommended that such media campaigns should continue in future particularly during important holiday periods and long weekends.
We have been very fortunate in receiving a donation from the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) division of BirdLife South Africa for this project. DPI Plastics donated the materials for the construction of the bins. We express our appreciation for these donations. Brenda du Toit of DICT, John Kieser of Plastics SA and Mark Brown of the Nature’s Valley Trust are thanked for their ongoing support and guidance with the establishment of this project. We also thank club members Jenny Parsons, Carl Swart, Frank Spratt and Tom Casey for their practical support on the ground.
The tragic death of a cormorant due to entanglement with fishing line
The first batch of fishing line bins received from DICT
Fishing line bin at Onrus beach
Fishing line being removed from bin. Photo credit: DICT