BIN IT: Calamity the dolphin, Maxine the seal and marine mammal specialist Tiga at DMM are encouraging everyone to use the blue bins.
BIN IT: Calamity the dolphin, Maxine the seal and marine mammal specialist Tiga at DMM are encouraging everyone to use the blue bins. Leigh Jensen

Protect marine life by putting used fishing line in the bin

DID you get a fishing rod for Christmas? While it's a fun, popular past-time, your discarded line has the potential to cause serious harm. Calamity, the mother of the dolphin family at Dolphin Marine Magic, is one local who knows first hand of the dangers of fishing line.

"Calamity has been twice rescued; both times with fishing line wrapped around her,” said Tiga, one of the marine mammal specialists at DMM.

"She was not able to be released from the second rescue due to more than 15m of fishing line which had wrapped around her tail.”

The team at DMM are no strangers to rescuing sea birds, marine turtles, sea snake, dolphins and seals entangled in discarded fishing line.

"It only takes a little bit of fishing line to cause a lot of damage. We have had a few turtles that needed flipper amputations because of the severity of the damage. We also had a pelican in recently with horrible injuries from swallowed fishing hooks and line.”

In line with their focus on conservation, research and rehabilitation, DMM partnered with Coffs Harbour City Council and introduced the Seal The Loop program on the Coffs Coast. This program, which originated in 2010 with Zoos Victoria, aims to educate people and stop discarded line getting in to the ocean by providing special bins in key fishing locations.

Tiga is passionate about Seal The Loop and is one of the driving forces at a local level bringing awareness to the community about the importance of this program.

"We've got 24 bins from as far north as Red Rock to Nambucca Heads in the south,” she said.

"We've collected 30kms of fishing line and more than 400 hooks since the program started here in 2013.

The bins are emptied every fortnight in the busy season and monthly in the off season.

"We have volunteers who help empty the bins and collect data, and support from schools and 10 local business.”



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