The RSPCA has joined the Angling Trust to call for anglers to dispose of hooks, line and other potentially dangerous items of tackle responsibly after 574 cases of animals caught up in fishing litter were reported in June alone.
The latest figures released by the RSPCA also reveled 3803 cases were reported in 2016, with swans and geese the most commonly affected animals. Deaths to mammals and birds ranging from infections inflicted by discarded fishing hooks to deep wounds where plastic has cut into flesh are frequently seen by the RSPCA. Strangulation by old fishing line is a common cause of death.
Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA Wildlife Information Officer, said: “I would strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious when packing up to make sure no litter is left behind. Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal. If any member of the public sees discarded litter around, if they could pick it up and put it in the bin, they may save an animal’s life.”
Dilip Sarkar MBE, Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Support Service National Enforcement Manager, said: “Responsible anglers leave only footprints and care deeply for all wildlife. Unfortunately, as with all things, an irresponsible minority spoil it for everyone, so these people need either educating or prosecuting. Endangering wildlife through any kind of irresponsible behaviour, by anyone, is simply unacceptable.”
Anybody who sees an animal in distress is encouraged to ring the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 123 9999. Further information is available at www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter/fishing.