Entanglement in lost or discarded fishing line is one of the most severe threats to juvenile turtles in the Cayman Islands and is also a danger to other wildlife. Fishing line is nearly invisible underwater and causes drowning and severe injuries when it tangles turtles, birds, and other animals. Whilst there is nothing wrong with people wanting to fish, and using sites like https://www.catchandfillet.com to learn more about how to do so, they should be considerate to the environment as they do so. These fishing lines being left in the water is inconsiderate and give avid fishers a bad name. However, it’s doubtful that the most enthusiastic and knowledgable fishers that have all the right equipment and may fish from kayak and have the best fishing lines are not the ones damaging sea life with the abandoned lines. Those with inexperience are the ones being irresponsible. It takes more than 600 years for line to degrade.
To address the threat of wildlife entanglement, DoE has installed fishing line collection bins at almost 40 sites across the three islands. With sponsorship from Atlantis Submarines, poles donated by the Caribbean Utilities Company, and additional support from Cayman Turtle Farm, DoE has placed the bins at public docks, dive shops, and fishing supply stores.
The purpose of the bins is to prevent entanglement by removing fishing line from the marine environment and from the shoreline. Collected line is recycled because even if unwanted fishing line is sent to the landfill it can continue to entangle birds and other animals.
Line from the bins is collected by DoE staff and volunteers, cleaned, and sent overseas for recycling where it is made into artificial fish habitats and tackle boxes.
To launch the project the DoE held a competition inviting students from across the islands to complete posters depicting the dangers of lost and discarded fishing line in the Marine Environment. Designs from Delissa Sarah Tatum (age 9, West End Primary School), Aiden Powery (age 9, homeschooled), and Jose Daniel Unruch (age 15, John Gray High School) were selected from among nearly 100 entries and made into signs for the recycling bins.
DoE asks fishermen, divers, snorkelers, and other members of the public to assist by depositing line in the fishing line recycling bins. Line which is wrapped around corals and sponges should be collected carefully in order to avoid damaging the marine environment: see our Guidelines for Fishing Line Cleanup below.