Monofilament line may not be a common household name, but it is a critical part to a popular past time in America: fishing. Made of a single fiber of plastic, monofilament line is the most commonly used form of fishing line on the market today. This line type is very popular amongst anglers as it comes in a range of diameters or test strengths that can be used for a wide variety of targeted fish. Unfortunately, either by accident or through neglect, some of this monofilament line can make its way into our waterways. In fact, this fishing line is one of the ocean’s most persistent forms of pollution as, for example, 10,000 feet of fishing line was collected from Hartford Pier, Southern California alone in 2007.
Unfortunately, monofilament fishing line lost to the natural environment can stay around for a while as the material takes over 600 years to decompose! This monofilament line not only spends a long time in the environment but can also be very hazardous to marine life, bird life, scuba divers and even boat propellers. There are two ways in which monofilament line can be harmful to animal life: entanglement or ingestion.
In an effort to reduce the amount of monofilament fishing line that ends up in our local waterways, The Wetlands Institute has aligned efforts with Boat U.S. Foundation’s “Reel In And Recycle Monofilament Recycling Program.” Wetlands Institute staff and volunteers have installed an initial batch of 12 monofilament recycling stations at local marinas, fishing piers and tackle shops throughout Southern New Jersey. In an effort to properly dispose of the material (keeping it out of landfills), the Wetlands Institute is responsible for maintaining these recycling stations and disposing of the monofilament line on a regular basis. Monofilament line collected by The Wetlands Institute is sent to the Berkeley Conservation Institute (http://www.berkley-fishing.com/about/berkley-conservation-institute) who recycles the material as they melt the line down into raw plastic pellets that are used to make new plastic products such as park benches or tackle boxes. Through this program, the Wetlands Institute hopes to inspire anglers to be more responsible when utilizing monofilament fishing line and to promote understanding on how monofilament line can become a hazard when lost to the natural environment.
Make sure to look for a monofilament recycling station near you. If you would like to learn how to build your own recycling station, visit the Boat U.S. Foundation for a step-by-step instructional video http://www.boatus.com/foundation/monofilament/build.asp. Coastal stewardship begins with you!