Fishing tackle dumped on Durban beaches puts public at risk

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DISCARDED fishing tackle poses a significant threat to marine habitats, swimmers, wildlife and pets. That’s according to a Glenwood resident who recently stepped on a barbed hook and fishing line thrown into the sand near the uMhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve.

Vanessa Brummer said pollution of the world’s oceans is a growing and pervasive problem and an added complication is that of abandoned fishing gear.

Brummer and several honorary officers from north Durban were on their way to eMdloti beach when the crash happened.

Although she didn’t need stitches, Brummer said the hook lodged deep into the soft tissue of the sole of her foot, causing her to scream in pain.

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“We were on the sand just beyond the reserve picking up all the rubbish we had spotted when I felt a jolt of pain. I immediately collapsed on the floor and one of the honorary officers accompanying us took one look and said it was a hook. My immediate reaction was to just pull it off, but he was adamant that it would further damage the tissues in my foot because the hook was barbed.

“A few nearby anglers also helped us out, lending us a pair of pliers to first crack the eye of the hook before gently pulling it out. I was lucky not to need medical assistance, but my biggest concern is that children or wild animals get addicted and can cause serious damage. Once we removed the hook, we noticed that it was fairly new, so it had recently been discarded. Of course, not all fishermen are to blame, but some simply throw their fishing line, causing significant damage to the environment and people,” she explained.

According to Brummer, discarded fishing line is among the top 10 pollutants on beaches and river systems.

“Since then we have done a few beach cleanups at Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve and in just one walk we have found a staggering amount of fishing line which is deeply concerning. I think the solution is more education, as well as the availability of secure bins for old fishing lines and hooks like those found on the main promenade and uMhlanga beach,” he said. she declared.

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