An increase in fishing waste left illegally on Surf Coast beaches is impacting the environment and the community with one report of a dog swallowing a hook at Anglesea this week.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) has noted an increase in hooks, plastic bags, fishing line and other fishing-related waste, particularly in Jan Juc and Anglesea.
GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald said fishing waste not only impacts the coastal environment and marine animals, it is also harmful to beach users and animals.
“This major source of pollution remains on the beach until it is washed directly into the ocean.
Ms. MacDonald said that dogs could be drawn to hooks left on the beach, particularly when hooks were surrounded by discarded bait remains such as sardine heads and bones.
“We have one report of a dog swallowing a hook at the Anglesea Main Beach and another report of a near miss,” she said.
While the dog affected by the hook has been given the all clear, the incident serves as a timely reminder for all beach users to discard of waste properly.
“Dispose your rubbish properly and care for the environment you came to enjoy.
“GORCC urges all anglers and fisherman to take responsibility for their fishing waste and consider the safety of humans, pets, sea creatures and the protection of our coastal environment in general,” said Ms.MacDonald.
“The bins, which are made of recycled plastic waste, make it easy to dispose of fishing waste in a way that ensures it will never harm wildlife or beach users,” said Ms. MacDonald.
GORCC currently has Seal the Loop bins at Torquay Main Beach, Torquay Point, near the Anglesea River, on the Lorne Pier and along the Lorne Foreshore.
GORCC has recently applied for two additional Seal the Loop bins to be installed at the Jan Juc Surf Club car park and the Moggs Creek boardwalk.
Keen fishermen and anglers wanting to make even more of a difference can take responsibility for their rubbish and take it home to be disposed properly off-site.
More information can be found on the Seal the Loop website.