Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘fishing tackle’

September 13, 2008

"Fishing for energy" turning trash into electricity

A new program beginning in New England hopes to turn discarded fishing tackle and ocean debris into electricity.

The “Fishing for Energy,” is an effort to work with coastal communities to reduce the amount of abandoned fishing gear that ends up in the nation’s oceans. It’s a joint project with Covanta Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The gear is collected and burned to generate power at a nearby Covanta incinerator. According to the company, the power plant is outfitted with emission control scrubbers that remove pollutants that might be released into the atmosphere from the burning of plastics and toxins in fishing debris.

Each year thousands of pounds of discarded fishing tackle affects the marine environment. At IBRRC we continue to see increasing numbers of birds – especially endangered Brown Pelicans – injured by fishing line, nets and hooks. See: Tangled in trash.

Read the media report

August 27, 2008

Discarded fishing tackle a monumental mess

At IBRRC we’ve been witnessing first hand the mess that discarded fishing tackle causes on the lives of aquatic birds. Our recent response to brown pelicans in Santa Cruz and Monterey showed a high percentage of birds injured after being caught up in hooks and fishing line that are so much a part of the marine environment.

Not surprising there’s some disturbing statistics coming from the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project:

Since May 2006, the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project has retrieved nearly 11 tons of gear from around the California Channel Islands (Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Catalina). As well, the project has cleaned more than 1400 pounds of recreational fishing gear off public fishing piers from Santa Cruz to Imperial Beach including more than 1 million feet of fishing line. Several of these piers now have fishing line recycling bins, to encourage proper disposal of unwanted hooks and microfilament. See the full report

And don’t even get us started on the mess that discarded plastics – including toys and cigarette lighters – leaves on the ocean. Read: Birds suffer as world’s oceans become a big garbage can

All is not lost: 10 Things You Can Do To Save the Oceans

August 22, 2008

Pelican response update: Current numbers

The influx of pelicans from Santa Cruz and Monterey areas has slowed down at IBRRC’s two bird rescue centers. The most recent birds are mostly fishing tackle injuries from the Santa Cruz/Monterey area and have problems as we assume many have been injured for days or weeks and coming into the center in poor condition. At the San Pedro center, we’re still getting a more regular flow of pelicans, about ten a week.

And there’s more good news, dedicated staff and volunteers have worked hard to rehabilitate these remarkable birds. Many have been released back into the wild. (See photo above)

Since June 15th IBRRC has taken in more than 150 endangered brown pelicans. Between the two California bird centers, 339 birds have been cared for since the beginning of 2008.

Here’s the current numbers:

Current totals in house: 87

Cordelia: 50
San Pedro: 37

Total Fishing tackle injuries: 125

Cordelia: 75
San Pedro: 50

Total Released: 140

Cordelia: 66
San Pedro: 74

Total intakes in 2008: 339

Cordelia: 164
San Pedro: 175

As always, IBRRC is appealing for public support to help us pay the ENORMOUS fish bill for this response. It will easily hit $40,000 by the month’s end.

Thanks to all who already supported our efforts!

Media reports:

Santa Cruz Sentinel: Pelican injuries take a toll

Also see the video

San Jose Mercury News story

July 17, 2008

Getting the lead out: Birds still affected

The long-term affects of lead on birds and other animals is still leaving its mark. In a recent study released by the US Geological Survey, the evidence of lead fragments from ammunition is still wide spread. See the radiograph (right photo) in which an immature bald eagle shows numerous lead shot in its digestive tract.

The report is called “Lead Shot and Sinkers: Weighty Implications for Fish and Wildlife Health.” Here’s an excerpt:

“Science is replete with evidence that ingestion of spent ammunition and fishing tackle can kill birds,” Rattner said. “The magnitude of poisoning in some species such as waterfowl, eagles, California condors, swans and loons, is daunting. For this reason, on July 1, 2008, the state of California put restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in parts of the range of the endangered California condor because the element poses such a threat to this endangered species.” Lead poisoning causes behavioral, physiological, and biochemical effects, and often death. The rate of mortality is high enough to affect the populations of some wildlife species. Although fish ingest sinkers, jigs, and hooks, mortality in fish seems to be related to injury, blood loss, exposure to air and exhaustion rather than the lead toxicity that affects warm-blooded species.

Although lead from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle is not readily released into aquatic and terrestrial systems, under some environmental conditions it can slowly dissolve and enter groundwater, making it potentially hazardous for plants, animals, and perhaps even people if it enters water bodies or is taken up in plant roots. For example, said Rattner, dissolved lead can result in lead contamination in groundwater near some shooting ranges and at heavily hunted sites, particularly those hunted year after year.

Research on lead poisoning related to spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle has been focused on bird species, with at least two studies indicating that the ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl in North America has been successful in reducing lead exposure in waterfowl, the report said. The authors found that upland game — such as doves and quail — and scavenging birds — such as vultures and eagles — continue to be exposed to lead shot, putting some populations (condors in particular) at risk of lead poisoning.

Read the full report on the USGS website