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MARINELAND, Florida, November 29, 2001 (ENS) - Strong, thin and
invisible, the same qualities that make nylon monofilament fishing line
popular with anglers can make it deadly to wildlife that encounter lost
or discarded strands. 
But environmentally conscious anglers on Florida's Northeast coast will
now have the Monofilament Recycling Project to take their snarled and
broken lines. University of Florida (UF) researcher Maia McGuire began
installing recycling stations at marine fishing spots in Nassau, Duval,
St. Johns and Flagler counties this month. 
"Manatees, marine turtles and pelicans head a long list of animals that
are harmed by swallowing or getting snared in monofilament," said
McGuire, extension agent for Sea Grant, a program of coastal research
and education affiliated with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences. "People and property are at risk, too." 
McGuire will have 100 stations in place by the end of 2002 at both
saltwater and freshwater locations. Constructed from three foot sections
of six inch diameter PVC pipe, the stations are mounted on 4x4 posts or
existing structures. Decals and signs explain which items should be
placed in the stations. 
"We want people to deposit any unwanted or discarded monofilament line,
regardless of quantity or condition," she said. "Let's get it out of the
environment first, then worry about what's actually recyclable." 
The recycling stations will also take nylon fishing line spools, nylon
rope and nylon cast nets. Tackle shops, marinas and other businesses in
a four county area have joined the effort by placing collection bins on
their premises. 
Marine turtles sometimes mistake floating tangles of monofilament for
jellyfish and eat them, causing intestinal blockage. Sea birds may fly
or dive into monofilament or eat fish that have been previously hooked
and still trail line. 
"We surveyed Brevard County anglers and everyone had a story," said
Leesa Souto, an environmental scientist who helped start the Brevard
County Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program last year. "Some of
them didn't involve wildlife," Souto said. "In one incident, a powerboat
snagged submerged line and all the passengers were thrown overboard. In
another, a scuba diver recovering line underwater became entangled and
Between 1980 and 1999, one in five manatee rescues involved monofilament
entanglement, Souto said. The endangered aquatic mammals can catch their
tails or flippers on submerged line and sometimes accidentally consume
monofilament while feeding on plants. About 3,200 manatees live in
Florida waters. 
Developed in the 1930s, monofilament fishing line is made from a single,
continuous strand of nylon. Discarded monofilament is believed to last
600 years in the marine environment. 
(c) 2001 Environmental News Service
And a related note from the Environmental News Network:
More than 60 tons of discarded fishing nets and derelict fishing gear
were recovered from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by teams of expert
divers. Unfortunately, more than 100 tons of the stuff remain to
potentially entangle and kill marine creatures. The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deployed three chartered commercial
vessels in September for a 90-day clean-up tour, which was completed
last month. Divers cleared the derelict fishing gear from four sites in
remote string of islands.
Read more at: <
---SOURCE: Environmental News Network, December 5, 2001

Robert Rice
NFC president