By: Dianna Parker, Communications Specialist, NOAA Marine Debris Program
Last weekend, I jumped in the Rappahannock River in Virginia after spending all day at the American Canoe Association’s “Celebrate the Rapp” festival and river cleanup. It was 100 degrees, and I needed to cool off.
I wasn’t in the river 10 seconds before my foot got caught in derelict fishing line. Talk about a fitting end to a day of raising awareness about marine debris.
Untangling myself was easy, but it made me wonder about all of the creatures living in rivers and oceans without two free hands. Monofilament fishing line, while a nuisance for us, can be a killer for birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals that become caught in it. If it doesn’t kill them, it can create deep wounds that lead to infection.
ACA’s event was about a lot more than fishing line – it was about celebrating the longest free-flowing river to the Chesapeake Bay. Celebrating our natural resources means being a good steward, and being a good steward means taking steps to keep rivers and oceans – and everything in them – healthy.
Marine debris is preventable. Don’t litter. Reduce your waste. Recycle. Or better yet, sponsor a monofilament fishing line recycling bin in your community’s popular fishing spot. Making a conscious choice to keep debris off the ground and out of the water might just save a life, or a river, or at the very least, my foot.