Fishing Line Can Drown Wildlife
Craig Koppie with rescued osprey.
Photo credit: Dr Teena Gorrow
On July 3rd, a fisherman on the Choptank River spotted an osprey entangled in fishing line in the river and reported it to the Coast Guard who alerted Chesapeake Bay Field Office biologist Craig Koppie who was already on the river relocating a peregrine chick. Koppie and the Coast Guard crew found the adult bird with fishing line around its neck, both wings and both legs.
Fishing line sign
The line was also anchored to the bottom. After the anchor line was cut, the osprey was pulled out of the water and the rest of the line was cut from its body. The osprey, a bit exhausted, was placed on one of the footers below the Maryland Route 50 bridge. After 30 minutes, the bird successfully flew off.
The Chesapeake Bay has some of the finest fishing on the East Coast. The fishing season also corresponds with the breeding season for osprey. From March to August, while anglers are fishing the Bay, these magnificent birds are building nests, laying eggs and feeding and rearing their young. Ospreys and other birds often line their nests with natural and manmade materials. They may pick up paper, plastic rope and fishing line. Some of these prove to be deadly.
Ospreys are only one example of wildlife that can be harmed. Line has been seen on other birds like black crowned night herons, gulls, great blue herons and several types of ducks. Other wildlife, including turtles, may come in contact with fishing line, as well as any animals that frequent shoreline areas.
But you can help. Anglers can reduce the injuries or deaths to ospreys and other wildlife simply by properly discarding their fishing line and hooks. Always deposit them in trash containers or take them home with you. We can all help protect Chesapeake Bay wildlife!
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