Marine litter affects a variety of marine animals, notably turtles, seabirds and whales. Fishing line and other fishery-related products pose a major problem as marine creatures may become entangled in it and this can impede movement thereby causing body parts being lost, drowning or starvation. Entanglements off South Africa’s coastline have been reported in at least five species of mammals, two turtle species, six fish species and thirteen seabird species. Bird species most affected by entanglement are African Penguins, Cape Gannets, cormorants and gulls.
For these reasons the installation of fishing line bins was identified as one of six projects forming part of the BirdLife Overberg CleanMarine conservation campaign along the Overstrand coastline. These bins have now been put up at various sites along the Cape Whale Coast shoreline. Thank you to all volunteers who had assisted us with this process and particularly the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) for initiating this process. We at BirdLife Overberg also extend a big thank you and sincere appreciation to all those organisations who had contributed very generous donations enabling us to roll out these bins. We would specifically like to thank the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) division of BirdLife South Africa for a sizable grant, DPI Plastics for the provision of the raw material and brackets, John Kieser of PLASTICS SA for facilitating this process and the volunteers at DICT for assembling the bins.
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!
We appeal to fishermen and anglers, as well as beach goers, community members and holiday makers to assist with this by depositing fishing line into these bins. Also report spots where significant amounts of fishing line wash up along our shoreline with GPS co-ordinates to firstname.lastname@example.org It has been shown that a difference can be made to address this problem meaningfully – every little bit of fishing line collected contributes to the improvement of our beautiful coastline.