Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Hearst Connecticut Media
Nineteen fishing line disposal bins were recently installed at popular fishing areas in Fairfield and Bridgeport.
The new bins were recently installed at 19 locations on local docks and piers in Fairfield and Bridgeport. The bins were built last year by five high school students from Fairfield through the volunteer group Scholar Athletes Serving Others.
One of the students, Ryan Burress, said in a prepared statement that he’s been fishing his entire life but didn’t think of the potential problem of fishing line left sitting around.
“Not until I got involved in this project did I realize the danger that used fishing line is to our environment and wildlife,” Burress said. “Building and distributing the bins was a worthwhile project.”
The bins are intended solely for anglers to dispose of their monofilament line. When left on the shore, instead of being thrown out, monofilament line can often get tangled up with wildlife — specifically birds — and choke them or render winds or legs useless.
The concerns about monofilament came to the forefront last summer when an osprey nesting in Fairfield’s Ash Creek got caught in fishing line and later died.
The project was developed and organized by Madaline Dennis Raleigh, osprey monitor and community activist, and Gail Robinson, president of the Ash Creek Conservation Association. The two worked with the city of Bridgeport, town of Fairfield and various private businesses and landowners to get the bins installed. The Connecticut Audubon Society was the lead sponsor of the project.
“We hope this project will inspire groups and marinas in other areas around the state to build and install their own fishing line recycle bins to protect our wildlife,” said Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation at the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Beyond last summer’s fatal osprey incident, fishing line has been a longtime serious problem for birds and wildlife because of its strength and “that it lasts essentially forever,” the society said. Fishing line is able to be recycled with normal plastics through recycling programs.
“Several recent wildlife rescues at Ash Creek spurred us to get involved with this project,” Robinson said.
Various locations in Bridgeport now have bins and additional ones are expected to be installed at Pleasure Beach this summer, the Connecticut Audubon Society said. In Fairfield, four spots have gained the fishing line recycling bins.
Click here to find the Bridgeport and Fairfield locations of the fishing line bins.
Each location has a site monitor who will periodically empty their assigned bin.
“The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will collect the discarded line and send it to Pure Fishing America/Boat US who will melt the line into plastic pellets that are made into tackle boxes and fish habitats,” Raleigh said in a prepared statement.
There are about 35 other places in Connecticut where anglers can recycle monofilament line, including Connecticut Audubon’s Milford Point Coastal Center.
Contact Milan Bull at the Connecticut Audubon Society for more information about this project: firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-259-6305 extension 401.