Recycle old fishing line

Published 11:30 am Friday, August 16, 2013

A blue heron was entangled in some fishing line left on the river and died. -- SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

A blue heron was entangled in some fishing line left on the river and died. — SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

FRANKLIN—Fishing lines left on the river unchecked can be a big problem to wildlife. It is also illegal.

Limb lines and trot lines that are abandoned or illegally tended, meaning they are not checked or fished daily, can cause wildlife death, said Riverkeeper Jeff Turner.

“When idiots fuse these devices and leave them unattended, fish, turtles, muskrats, beavers and even birds can get hooked on them or tangled in the line and die,” Turner said. “It would be a slow, terrible death.”

In the past, enforcement on these laws has not been aggressively enforced, but in recent years, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been seeking out enforcement to enforcing them.

“They are doing a great job at helping me protect our rivers from such a travesty,” Turner said.

VDGIF media manager Ron Messina said that leaving out an old line is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, or a person can be put in jail for up to 30 days. Conservation officers do enforce this, Messina said.

“Rather than write tickets, we would rather see folks taking responsibility for their trash, and doing the right thing by wildlife by cleaning up their old fishing line,” Messina said.

Old fishing line can be recycled at boat ramps, state parks, lakes and at river sites. Locally, there are containers for old line at the Hercules Boat Ramp, the Blackwater Landing, the Blackwater Bridge and at Lake Prince in Isle of Wight.

The container sites are sponsored, and if you would like to see more in the area, you can visit and look for information on the recycling sites. Anyone can sponsor and maintain a container.

“It is a shame so many animals end up entangled in these lines,” Messina said, “considering that it is preventable.”