Tackle tan­gles our coast

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Dory Black­ney has pulled up enough fish­ing line to stretch from Roe­bourne to Kar­ratha from just 100m of coast­line.

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