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Letters • 08-27-15

Obituaries • 08-27-15

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Happy Anniversary Noel and Theresa

Teens Took Over This Past Summer

A Simple Solution Saves Birds
Thursday, 20 August 2015 14:44
082015
PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES
A fisherman checks his line at the San Leandro Marina where three bins have been installed for discarded monofilament fishing line.

By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Hector Garcia and his brother found some fishing line along the rocks at the San Leandro Marina where they were fishing with their dad and started playing with it.

But when they were done playing, Hector read the sign on a bin nearby – a recycling bin for monofilament fishing line. Three of these bins are now installed at the San Leandro Marina.

The 11-year-old already has it figured out.

“I saw it (the fishing line recycling bin), so I put it in there,” Hector said.

By doing that one simple act, Garcia could have saved a seagull or pelican from a ghastly death.

Discarded fishing line along the shore or in the water can ensnare sea birds and other wildlife.

Today’s fishing line is great for catching fish. It’s so light and strong, only 1/100th of an inch in diameter.

Pull as hard as you can and it won’t break. It’ll just make your fingers hurt.

But imagine getting tangled up in it.

International Bird Rescue says that about half the pelicans it treats in California have injuries caused by monofilament fishing line.

Now there’s a more convenient way to dispose of discarded fishing line – a monofilament line recycling bin, coming to a shoreline or fishing spot near you.

Three of the containers have been installed around the San Leandro Marina by the Golden Gate Audubon Society with the help of funding by the Alameda County Wildlife Commission. They’re at other fishing spots around the East Bay, too.

The bins are simple devices made from a PVC pipe. Just wad up the line and stuff it in the top of the bin.

“It’s a low-tech solution that’s pretty weather resistant,” said Cindy Margulis, executive director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.

The San Leandro Marina will make pick-ups and mail the discarded fishing line to a place in Iowa that melts it down and makes artificial reefs out of the plastic.

Birds have been found at the marina ensnared in monofilament line, said San Leandro Marina Manager Delmarie Snodgrass.

“We’ve had seagulls and pelicans with the line wrapped around them,” Snodgrass said.

But if someone had just picked up that line, that would have spared a bird.

Wendy Parfrey likes to go fly fishing and the hooks and lines are always getting caught in trees and along the shore. But she’s making sure not to leave any line.

She carries a handy little container, a little bigger than a medicine bottle, that discarded line can be stuffed into, since lot of line can be wadded up into a small space.

Parfrey is on the Alameda County Fish & Game Advisory Commission, a volunteer citizen’s group appointed by the county supervisors, which is helping to fund the monofilament recycling bins.

Monofilament line would take 650 years to decompose, so it will be a hazard for quite a while if not picked up.

“So when I fish, I clean up the river,” Parfrey said.


 

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