Sunday, April 10, 2011

Discarded lines and lures kill birds

Discarded lines and lures kill birds
Peter Langlands
11 April 2011

Fishing News

Recently I was sent some photographs of a oystercatcher which had eaten a string of soft baits which imitates the birds prey of shrimps. Sadly the bird died. It is important that all anglers take care not to leave behind or discard any fishing gear such as traces with soft baits or fishing lines.
According to Rosemary Tully of Whakatane Bird Rescue “many seabirds and others get caught not only in bait and hooks but the lines wrapping around the legs and wings etc. Shags, Gulls, Penguins, Gannets, and Oyster-catchers have all come into care (some dead) with these problems. “
As more and more people use our coastlines for fishing and recreation there is an increasing amount of pressure on our marine and coastal birds. As anglers much of the experience of heading out fishing is about the wildlife, scenery and catching fish. So take care out there with your fishing gear so that we can conserve the wildlife along our coastlines. Always collect all fishing gear at the end of the day. If anyone finds any birds or wildlife entangled with fishing gear phone the DOC hotline- 0800 362 468 and hopefully an attempt will be made to get the bird to a nearby rescue centre.
It is testament of just how natural and effective that soft baits imitate the real prey that birds will consume them. Birds have much sharper eyesight and are more discerning overall than fish.
Anglers can do their part by picking up discarded fishing line they find on a beach, such as bungles of nylon, which are often deadly to birds. Sadly in addition to recreational anglers, the entanglement of rare seabirds by commercial fishing gear remains a major problem.

Photograph- shows a rare variable oystercatcher at Maketu Spit, with a national population of only several thousand birds, lethally caught in a string of soft baits. (Photo by Julian Fitter).

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