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NYSG Partners for Plastic Fishing Line Recycling Program
Marine Fisheries Resource Center - Press Release
Stony Brook, NY, August 25, 2011 - Last Thursday, Hempstead Town officials held a press conference to announce the launch of “Reel Recycling,” a program to promote the proper disposal of monofilament fishing line, which often ends up tangled around docks, piled on beaches or entrapping seagulls, turtles and other marine life and shore birds. It is the first comprehensive program of its kind in Nassau County, officials said.

"When not disposed properly, monofilament fishing line can be damaging to our environment and harmful to our precious wildlife," Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement. "Hempstead Town's Reel Recycling program will help keep our bays tangle-free."

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray speaks at an Aug. 18 press conference to kick off the "Reel Recycling" program
Credit: Lauren Urban, Patch.com

Murray added that fishing line also creates a hazard for swimmers and boaters, as the line can become entangled in boat propellers, resulting in stranded boaters and costly repairs.

The town partnered with local environmental and fishing groups, including New York Sea Grant, the New York Marine Trades Association, the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council, the Hempstead Shellfisherman's Association, the New York State Department of State, and Operation SPLASH (Stop Polluting Littering And Save Harbors).

“[The program] is yet one more example of the town’s proactive and progressive approach to protecting the environment and our valuable marine resources,” said Jay Tanski, senior coastal processes and facilities specialist for the New York Sea Grant Program.

Young fishermen demonstrate how to use the new recycle bin, alongside Councilwoman Angie Cullin (at right).
Insert: A specially designed fishing line recycle bin, positioned next to a photo of a sea creature tangled in fishing line.
Credit: Lauren Urban, Patch.com

Fishing line recycling bins will be at 10 sites: Guy Lombardo Marina, Inwood Marina, Point Lookout East Marina, Point Lookout West Marina, Woodmere Docks, Shell Creek Park, Seaman's Neck Park, Seaford Docks, Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve, and Harbor Isle Park. The receptacles are exclusively for monofilament fishing line; cans, bottles and trash are not permitted.

"Simple projects like the ‘Reel Way Recycling for Fishing Line’ help anglers to be better stewards," said Antoinette Clemtson, marine fisheries specialist for New York Sea Grant. "Residents and wildlife that use our waterways will benefit from the new facility being created and there will be tremendous impacts."

The non-biodegradable plastic line can take more than 500 years to decompose, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s easy to recycle, and our marine life and birds thank all of our fishermen for doing the right thing,” Murray concluded.

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