Knowing how to properly care for and maintain your fishing rod and reel is important to make your investment last many years. Your fishing rod and reel are the most vital components to catch fish, the [...]
Is Braided Fishing Line Biodegradable? Let’s Find Out
Published: May 26, 2021
In recent years, braided fishing lines have gained popularity among experienced anglers looking to boost their fishing game. A braided fishing line offers many benefits, such as higher abrasion resistance, easy casting capabilities, and limited stretch. Still, anglers concerned with leaving their fishing environments as they found them may wonder if their favorite fishing line could be harming the environment. Read on to find out the answer to this question and learn more about the topic.
Manufacturers use a polymer to construct braided and other popular fishing lines, such as mono and fluorocarbon. Unfortunately, the plastic in these fishing lines can take up to 600 years to decompose, making fishing lines a primary environmental concern.
The news is troubling for environmentally-conscious anglers who want to do the right thing. But, all is not lost. There is positive news on the horizon and actions that anglers can take today to respect the waters they love to fish in.
The Effects of Fishing Lines on the Environment
With 100,000 metric tons of monofilament and fishing gear dumped in the ocean every year, and even more dumped in our lakes and other waterways, some may wonder about their overall effect on the environment.
Aside from being unsightly and cluttering up our landscapes, fishing lines cause tremendous harm and even death to wildlife, such as birds, fish, and various amphibians. The animals can indeed become entangled in the line, which may cut off their circulation and cause them to become immobile and starve. In addition, some animals will ingest the fishing line. Sadly, even the ones that make it to the trash, and eventually the landfills, can continue to harm the animals that scavenge there.
Fishing lines can also damage water vessels, get tangled in propellers and shafts, decrease their speed, and increase fuel consumption. They can also get twisted into motors, leading to costly repairs.
For these reasons, recycling, reusing, and using proper fishing line disposal are crucial to the environment and the future of our precious oceans and waterways.
Is there such a thing as biodegradable fishing lines?
The demand for eco-friendlier fishing lines has driven some organizations to offer a solution. Over the last two decades, a couple of companies have indeed released biodegradable fishing lines.
One of those companies, Colorado-based Eagle Claw, created Bioline, a 100% biodegradable product. Eagle Claw constructed Bioline using biodegradable polymers, which biodegrade within five years with the help of the enzymatic reactions of bacteria, sunlight, and moisture.
Toray, a Japanese-based company, also hit the market with their biodegradable fishing line, FieldMate, in the 90s. However, the company didn't widely distribute the product outside of Japan, making it challenging for eco-conscious anglers worldwide to find the product.
Unfortunately, there were complaints about the durability of both brands, and sadly, both companies have discontinued their products. As of the writing of this article, we couldn't find any biodegradable fishing line products available online.
For the sake of our waters, many hope that a new player steps in soon on the biodegradable fishing line market. But is there anything else that anglers can do in the meantime?
Recycling and Properly Disposing of Your Fishing Lines
A great option to keep your fishing lines out of the water and landfills is to recycle them. Fortunately, you can recycle monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines in designated bins, found in many boat ramps and piers. In addition, many tackle shops offer line drop-off locations. Make sure to ask about recycling at your local fishing and tackle shop.
In addition, make sure not to discard your braided fishing line or any other material, such as wire. Also, please don't use the bins to discard tackle, such as hooks, lures, or soft plastics, as these can injure other anglers or workers who come in contact with them.
To properly dispose of your braided fishing lines or those containing wire, you need to cut them into 12- inch or smaller pieces and place them in a covered trash receptacle. Make sure the cover is secure as the line can easily blow out into the environment. When disposing of hooks and lures, make sure to cut off any sharp points to avoid injuring humans or wildlife that may come in contact with them.
Yet, another eco-conscious option to keep your braided line out of the landfill is to reuse it. Braided fishing, along with a sewing needle, can make a great repair kit for old tackle bags and other fishing gear and apparel. In a pinch, it can be great for sewing a button on as well. In that, braid is a great way to give your equipment a second life instead of throwing it away.
Braid can also be a substitute for twine and be helpful for tie-down tasks on your boat, campsite, or around your working area or garage.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Topic (FAQs)
Are there biodegradable fishing hooks, lures, or fishing gear on the market?
Yes, luckily, there are many options for sustainable fishing gear on the market today.
Eco-friendly fishing lures are a great way to practice sustainable fishing. The rubber from traditional lures doesn't break down in the water or in a fish's stomach. Instead, sustainable lures use a form of biodegradable plastic that will break down over time.
Sustainable fishing sinkers or weights are another excellent alternatives for sustainable fishing. However, due to the toxicity of lead found in many traditional sinkers, manufacturers have turned to more non-toxic alternatives, such as tin, brass, tungsten, or steel, which won't cause as much harm if ingested by the fish or left in the water.
Additionally, some manufacturers produce fishing gear, such as waders, bags, and boxes from recyclable materials. Finally, look for rigs constructed from materials like glass beads.
What else can I do to keep my fishing line out of the water?
Anglers may keep their fishing line from getting into the waters they enjoy fishing by following some of the few general guidelines mentioned below:
- Don't leave your fishing line unattended. Birds may try to eat the bait from the line and get entangled.
- Cast your line away from trees, bushes, and utility lines, where it can get tangled.
- Check your line frequently for frays that could break off into the water.
- Pick up and dispose of any improperly discarded fishing line you come across.
Many anglers like to bring along storage bins for storing any discarded fishing line. You may purchase some in outdoor stores, or like many anglers, make your own. For example, coffee tins or tennis ball containers make for great DIY storage bins.
Are there any other ways to be a more eco-minded angler?
In addition to eco-friendly gear, there are several ways to be a more earth-conscious angler.
If you're boat fishing, consider a canoe, rowboat, or kayak instead of a motorized boat. However, if you opt for a motorboat, be careful when crossing over fragile habitats and make sure you don't spill nor leak fuel.
For catch and release fishing, be mindful of how long the fish is out of the water and keep it wet to increase its chances of survival. Make sure to use the appropriate eco-friendly fishing lures for the species you plan on fishing, and choose barbless circle hooks over J-hooks to minimize injury.
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