FISHING LINE FAQ's
What is fishing line made of?
As its name implies, fishing line is a single, continuous strand of synthetic fiber. Most fishing line that you can buy today is made of monofilament — a single-strand, strong, flexible plastic that is clear or tinted blue, pink or green.
Why is fishing line a problem in the environment?
Most fishing line is non-biodegradable and can last hundreds of years depending on environmental conditions. Because it is thin and often clear, it is very difficult for birds and animals to see and they can easily brush up against it and become entangled. Once entangled, they may become injured, may drown, may become strangled, or may starve to death. Many animals also ingest fishing line.
How does fishing line end up in the environment?
Much of the discarded fishing line in the water gets there when someone's hook gets snagged on something underwater and the line breaks when pulled. Sometimes the line will rub against a sharp shell (like an oyster shell) and will break. Large fish can pull hard enough to break lines. Sometimes fishing lines get caught in trees and break off. Even fishing line that is thrown in the garbage can end up in the environment — either by blowing out of the garbage can or landfill, or by being taken out by birds or animals.
There are two ways wildlife are harmed by discarded fishing line. Either they will become entangled in monofilament, or line will be ingested.
Flexible—It is easy to use and works well for many fishing situations. This flexibility makes the line more manageable and easier to cast than stiffer lines.
Stretch—Mono stretches which gives it more forgiveness. If an angler’s line drags a stick or they set the hook too hard, mono compensates by stretching up to 25 percent or more. It also helps prevent the hook from tearing a hole in a fish’s mouth.
Shock Strength—Stretch should not be confused with shock strength, which is a fishing line’s ability to absorb energy. Shock strength comes into play when line has to withstand the sudden impact of a hard hooks being set or a big fish thrashing violently at boatside.
Sink Rate—Thanks to its near-neutral buoyancy, mono sinks slowly, making it a great choice for topwater lures and when anglers don’t want to accelerate the bait’s downward movement.
Color Palette—Mono is easier for manufacturers to tint than other types of line, so it’s available in a wider range of colors. Anglers can choose from stealthy options such as green, blue or clear—or spool with high-visiblity shades.
Knots—Mono is knot-friendly. Anglers can use a variety of strong, easy-to-tie knots without sacrificing the strength of the line.
Inexpensive—Mono is the most affordable of all line choices. Considering the critical role line plays in fishing, it is one of the best investments an angler can use.
Ease of Use—Thanks to a combination of manageability, stretch, easy knot tying and other fishing-friendly features, mono is the best fishing line for ease of use. This makes it a wonderful choice for everyone from first-time anglers to seasoned veterans.
Derelict fishing gear refers to nets, lines, crab/shrimp pots, and other recreational or commercial fishing equipment that has been lost, abandoned, or discarded in the marine environment. Modern gear is generally made of synthetic materials and metal, which means it can last in the environment for a long time.
Marine debris is persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment. There is no body of water that does not deal with this problem. A majority of the trash or debris comes from storm drains and sewers, as well as from shoreline and recreational activities. Marine debris is a threat to our environment, navigational safety, the economy, and human health.
The fishing line is collected from recycling bins and cleaned of hooks, leaders, weights, and trash by volunteers. It is then shipped to the Berkley Pure Fishing company in Iowa. Berkley melts the line down into raw plastic pellets that can be made into other plastic products including tackle boxes, spools for line, fish habitats, and toys.
Simply deposit it in one of our monofilament recycling containers. If you live in Canada, don’t have a bin and want to install one, contact us.
No, only fishing line that is a single filament, nylon product may be recycled (such as monofilament and fluorocarbon). Fishing line that is braided or contains wire cannot be recycled. Fishing line that has a lot of growth on it or plant material mixed up with it may not be recycled as well. Cut this fishing line up in small pieces (less than 12 inches) and place in a covered trash bin to make sure the line is disposed of properly.
Berkley Conservation Institute which is part of Pure Fishing recycles the fishing line. The Institute was developed to support conservation and angler recruitment efforts. They work and collaborate with a variety of organizations to enhance populations of sport fish and to introduce the next generation to angling.
If you throw out fishing line you are still keeping it out of the environment, but make sure the trash receptacle has a lid and be sure to cut the line into short lengths (6 to 12 inches). Once line goes to a landfill, longer pieces may be scavenged by animals trying to eat it or build nests out of it. Animals may become entangled, entangle their young, or will bring the line right back out into the environment.
No. Fishing line is a high density plastic and requires a special recycling process. It cannot go into most regular household recycling bins. Instead, it should be brought to an outdoor recycling bin or to a participating tackle shop. If you spool line at home, save it up in a box or bag and bring it to a drop off location.
Many types of wildlife are harmed by discarded fishing line, including birds, turtles, manatees, fish, dolphins, and even humans. However, almost any type of animal can be entangled in line or will try to consume it.
Ghost fishing occurs when lost or discarded fishing gear that is no longer under a fisherman’s control continues to trap and kill fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, sea turtles, and sea birds. These nets and traps can continue to ghost fish for years once they are lost under the water’s surface.
Ghost fishing can kill target and non-target organisms, included endangered and protecting species, cause damage to underwater habitats (such as coral reefs and benthic fauna), and contribute to marine pollution.
Stay calm and strictly observe for a couple of minutes to see if the animal is actually entangled. If you see a bird that is entangled or you accidently hook one yourself while fishing please call the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Center at 204.878.3740. You can also connect with your local Conservation Office for assistance.
There are many things that you can do to help keep line out of the environment. Please review the "How To Make a Difference" section below for additional information.