Recycling Fishing Line

I am not a skilled fisherwoman by any means, but I love a trip out to the camp for some R&R and a little fishing.

Whether you're freshwater or saltwater fishing, that feeling of catching a big one is always exhilerating...until it snaps your line and gets away! Unfortunately, a fish swimming away with part of your fishing line is ultimately bad for other fish and the environment. (And I won't tell anyone if your "big catch" was actually your hook getting snagged on a tree or something underwater!)

If you can recover and collect your used fishing line, take care not to dump it in the water, or leave it where the wind can blow it away into nature.

Why is fishing line harmful? According to Going Coastal, it can take up to 600 years for monofilament to decompose. And it adds to other marine debris, causing litter on the shore and creating problems for wildlife and humans. Fish and other marine wildlife can ingest fishing line (among other plastics, according to 5Gyres), which gets trapped in their stomachs or strangles them.

Fish just aren't meant to eat plastic!

There are a few organizations who work to recycle your used monofilament lines:

The responsibility starts with each person to collect their used line and bring it to a recycling bin. If you fish regularly through a marina, ask about having a collection bin placed out. Or take the initiative to do it yourself. Have a private dock? See about getting a collection bin for yourself, or mail your used line directly to the Berkley Conservation Institute.

I became aware of the need to recycle fishing line when I saw a collection bin at my local Academy in the fishing section. It's in great shape, can't you tell!? But at least people are using it! So, it's easy to find a way to bring your used fishing line in for recycling. Check with your local Academy to see if there's a bin.

So, you've dropped off your fishing line, but what actually gets done with it?

The Berkley Conservation Institute will create a Berkley Fish-Hab structure, made from recycled monofilament fishing line and line spools, along with other post-consumer materials like milk cartons and soft drink bottles. The Fish-Hab attracts fish and encourages plant growth almost immediately, providing the natural cover essential to the growth of a healthy fish population.

TRRM ships their spools and monofilament to PureFishing, the parent company of the Berkley Conservation Institute. Your used line can become a tacklebox or spool down the road, providing even more use to fishermen and women!

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