Tackle tangles our coast
A long-term local says he has pulled out enough discarded fishing line to stretch from Karratha to Roebourne in less than 100m of coastline around Dampier, Cossack and Cleaverville.
Former Point Samson-based commercial fisherman and keen angler who has lived in the region for more than 40 years Dory Blackney is not your average environmental crusader.
Mr Blackney’s hands are cut because of kilometres of dumped braided line slicing through goodquality gloves and he said it was not a task he would encourage other people to undertake.
He said the current levels of dumped fishing line and tackle were the worst he had seen in the area.
“I started doing this because I was trying to pull a lure through my favourite fishing hole and I just couldn’t because there was that much line in there,” he said.
“There’s also a heap of plastic floats and lures, I’ve found spearheads where people walk and about 10kg of toxic lead weights in less than 100m of coastline.”
Mr Blackney said fines for littering needed to be enforced and education and advice at the point of purchase needed to improve.
“I just can’t see a reason why you need to use so much lead fishing off the coastline, if any at all,” he said.
“Some of the line sizes and rigs out there are a bit out of control — I don’t know what some people think is down there.”
Mr Blackney said he had many people offering to help with his endeavours, but he had directed them to Pilbara Wildlife Carers instead.
Tackle is not the only problem on the coast, with a reader sending in a photo of her German shepherd puppy picking up one of many empty aluminium drinks cans discarded on the Dampier foreshore last week.
PWC chairwoman Rose Best saw the impact disposed fishing gear and other rubbish had on local wildlife.
“We had a Brahminy kite that had obviously gone down seeing a fish floating in the water, grabbed it and flew off and then proceeded to get tangled in line and sinkers,” she said.
“It cut right through her wing. That is a long, slow painful death hopping around with your wing half torn off and sinkers hanging from the wound.
“I have seen X-rays of turtles where the hook has just about gone the whole way through but then the line has become entangled and
wrapped up in the gut. It’s a horrible, cruel death.”
Mrs Best agreed with Mr Blackney that education at the point of sale needed to improve.
While coastal rubbish remains a big problem, the City of Karratha recently won an Infinity Award recognising its excellence in recycling and waste reduction.
Street litter in the City has been on a downward trend over the past few years, falling from 131 tonnes in 2012-13 to 75 tonnes in 2014-15.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the Cleansweep litter initiatives had been particularly successful in encouraging participation in litter management.
“While overall street litter tonnage is trending down, Council still spends more than $700,000 on litter services throughout the City,” he said.
“Ideally we would like to see this figure and the amount of litter decrease, and we hope that with the increased recycling capabilities available to residents now through the award-winning Seven Mile Waste Facility, more people will take responsibility for appropriately disposing of their rubbish.”
Mr Long said more than 50 vehicles, trailers and scrap material had been removed by rangers in 2014-15.
Dory Blackney has pulled up enough fishing line to stretch from Roebourne to Karratha from just 100m of coastline.