Oregon expands fishing tackle recycling program

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced this week that it will expand a program that provides streamside receptacles for the recycling of fishing line and other tackle.

According to the Florida-based Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program, discarded fishing line, which is made of a non-biodegradable plastic, poses a significant danger to wildlife. Because it is usually clear, animals can easily become entangled in the line, leading to injury or death. Some animals also ingest the material.

“Monofilament line may snare small animals, marine mammals, birds and waterfowl,” said Tod Lum, ODFW wildlife biologist. “I’ve seen birds and mammals with missing limbs from having the line wrapped around them so tightly.”

The line can also be a nuisance to humans, fouling boat motor props and ensnaring swimmers.

According to an ODFW press release, the tackle recycling program began in 2004 with 26 collection stations distributed among Oregon’s six major stream basins. Volunteers with the ODFW Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) help install and service the stations and are responsible for processing the deposited tackle. The expansion will place 50 additional collection stations at popular angling locations around the state.

“Because of this program’s success, particularly with reducing the amount of discarded fishing line around rivers and lakes, the Legislature recently made it a permanent ODFW program,” said STEP Coordinator Gary Galovich.

A Midwest-based fishing tackle company melts down and recycles the high-density plastic monofilament lines to create fish habitat structures. Fishing gear, including lead weights, metal hooks and lures are recycled in Oregon.