It’s fall in Florida and that means great weather for fishing! If you launch your boat in Yankeetown, Jena, Steinhatchee, Inglis, or Econfina, you may notice a new addition to your favorite launch spot. Large PVC tubes have been added to these locations – they serve as collection receptacles for the fishing line to be recycled through the Monofilament Recycling and Recovery Program.
The multi-state Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP), coordinated in Florida by the FWC, is an important part of sustainable fishing in Florida. Monofilament fishing line can cause many problems in the environment, including the (often lethal) entanglement of birds, marine mammals, turtles, and other wildlife. Fishing line can be accidentally consumed by animals or snag and tangle in boat propellers, taking the fun out of a day on the water. The monofilament recycling program consists of two parts: outdoor PVC recycling bins for public use and indoor recycling bins used by bait shops, marinas, and other retailers. It is important to use the PVC bins at the boat ramps to dispose of unwanted monofilament fishing line because regular recycling centers cannot recycle the line. If you fish with braided line, it cannot be recycled in these bins – dispose of this line by cutting into lengths less than 12 inches and tossing into a lidded trash can.
Volunteers Taking Action
The program depends on volunteers to empty the public bins and deliver the line to participating retailers (e.g., Sea Hag Marina or West Marine) to be collected and mailed in to Berkley Conservation Institute where it is recycled. In Steinhatchee and Jena, local resident Eddie Cullaro has adopted the new monofilament bins and will be the caretaker of the bins for the community. In Yankeetown, two new bins have been adopted by the Inglis-Yankeetown Lions Club – they will empty and maintain these bins on behalf of the Yankeetown community. Finally, bins at the Cross Florida Barge Canal ramp off Highway 19 and at the Econfina Ramp are being maintained by park staff and volunteers. Be sure to say “thanks” to these folks if you see them around your town. They are providing a great service to their local communities by helping to keep waterways “tangle-free”.
No bin near you?
You can get in touch with me (by email for Nature Coast bins) or your local Florida Sea Grant agent (for bins outside of the Nature Coast) to find out how you can adopt a bin and have one installed at your local boat ramp or fishing pier.