Discarded fishing line takes 600 years to break down and it’s endangering Texas wildlife, officials say

Various birds have been caught up in fishing line at Texas parks this year

Most fishing line can be recycled. Look for outdoor recycling containers near fishing spots or at tackle shops. If you're unable to locate a recycler near you, contact Texas Sea Grant. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is alerting the public to the dangers of discarded fishing lines because they cause issues not just for the environment, but for wildlife.

TPWD officials posted a series of photos to Facebook on Monday showing animals tangled up in discarded lines.

“Fishing line left out in the wild can be unsightly and dangerous to humans, boats and especially wildlife, by causing entanglement and ingestion leading to injury or death,” said TPWD Aquatic Education Training Specialist Adam Comer.

One photo shows an owl hanging from a tree in a discarded fishing line at Huntsville State Park and another shows a bird that was tangled at Lake Corpus Christi State Park.

Rangers were able to untangle and rescue both animals, according to the Facebook post.

“Modern fishing line includes a number of types, but the most popular – monofilament and fluorocarbon can be recycled into new products,” said Comer. “Modern fishing line is believed to last 600 or more years before breaking down.”

Many fishing spots and tackle shops have bins where you can recycle your fishing line but if you’re unable to find a recycle bin for old lines, you can contact Texas Sea Grant.

The organization has a Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program that has more than 250 collection bins for discarded lines across Texas.

Discarded fishing line is harmful to wildlife. Here are just a few examples of animals that park rangers rescued from...

Posted by Texas Parks and Wildlife on Monday, November 15, 2021

TWPD also has an Angler Education Program that offers basic and advanced fishing classes for anglers with varying levels of experience.

Classes cover everything from knot tying to safety and stewardship for participants.

Comer also said TPWD provides prepaid, pre-addressed boxes that a number of fishing sites use to send collected lines to be recycled at no cost.

“Pure Fishing recycles the line into tackle boxes, spools for line, fish habitats and toys,” Comer said.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.