Simple idea works wonders for wildlife

PROTECTING WILDLIFE: Regatta Avenue Boat Harbour Association secretary Ray McCombe with one of the fishing line disposal units installed at the Ballina harbour.
PROTECTING WILDLIFE: Regatta Avenue Boat Harbour Association secretary Ray McCombe with one of the fishing line disposal units installed at the Ballina harbour. Doug Eaton

WITH a bit of ingenuity and a $100 spend, one community group has taken an active step to reduce the risks to local birdlife from discarded fishing line.

It's been well documented that discarded fishing line - particularly with hooks attached - can have a tragic effect on birdlife when swallowed by them or if they get tangled in it.

In the early 1990s the late Lance Ferris founded Australian Seabird Rescue in Ballina in a bid to combat the problem.

Now the Regatta Avenue Boat Harbour Association has joined the battle, installing two "fishing line disposal units" on the eastern side of the harbour alongside the Richmond River.

The units are simple in design but association secretary Ray McCombe said they are being well used.

The units are made of lengths of large diameter PVC pipe with a cap at the bottom and brackets used to attach them to power poles within the area the association is leasing from the State Government.

The cost: $100 for the pair.

"There has been an ongoing problem with fishing line everywhere," Mr McCombe said.

"A lot of people fish here. It's a popular spot, especially at night."

Mr McCombe said the units have been emptied twice recently and both were full.

"People are doing the right thing," Mr McCombe said.

He said the person contracted to maintain the area near the disposal units has reported a big reduction in the amount of fishing line on the ground and in nearby bushes. He said the association has written to Australian Seabird Rescue and alerted them to the installation of the units, and the response was positive.

"This might be a bit of incentive for someone else to do the same thing," Mr McCombe said.

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