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The dangers faced by wildlife from carelessly discarded fishing tackle is being highlighted by the RSPCA following 2 rescues on the Isle of Wight.

The charity recently rescued and rehabilitated 2 gulls on the Island, both of whom who’d found themselves trapped, injured and in need of urgent assistance.

RSPCA officers Kane Goodyear and Shirley Bradley helped the distressed gulls on different parts of the Island within just days of each other.

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Shirley was called to help a young herring gull who’d been found in Parkhurst with a fishing hook embedded in the eye and beak, which had to be carefully removed by a vet while the bird was under anaesthetic.

Just days earlier, Kane was joined by a team from the fire and rescue service when they gave a much-needed helping hand to a herring gull who had become trapped in netting on top of a chimney breast in between chimney pots in Godshill.

He said:

“The gull had a fishing barb from a fishing lure through his foot, which was attached to the netting. There is no way he could have freed himself and would have sadly died without our help.

“Thankfully, the vet was able to remove the barb and the gull recovered at RSPCA Godshill Animal Centre. Both the gulls were successfully released back into the wild after receiving the care and treatment they needed.”

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Sadly, the Island’s gulls are just some of the many rescues carried out to help animals who’ve suffered similar injuries. Last year, the charity received 3,274 calls about animals affected by angling litter.

Incidents reported to the RSPCA in 2018 included birds swallowing fishing hooks and entanglements in fishing line, often leading to death. Water birds were the most affected with the species with the highest numbers of calls being swans (1,684), geese (461) and ducks (283).

In a drive to prevent future casualties, those who enjoy fishing are being reminded of the dangers that are posed to wildlife from discarded equipment and encouraged to follow the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme to dispose of their waste tackle and line.

Angling litter recycling points are now sited at the RSPCA’s wildlife centres – including one at the RSPCA Godshill Animal Centre – which has just been established at the as well as hundreds of other sites throughout the UK.

Holly Barber, anti-litter campaign manager for the RSPCA said:

“We’re hoping that our new recycling facilities will help reduce the terrible toll that is taken on animals by carelessly discarded fishing tackle. Our records show that water birds are particularly vulnerable to this hazardous material.

“The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don’t may not have realised how dangerous it is to animals. Discarded line in particular is a terrible hazard for wildlife, especially as it can be almost invisible.

“We received well over 3,000 reports last year about animals – mostly swans, geese and ducks – affected by hooks and lines.  We hope anglers and others who may have found discarded fishing paraphernalia will help to reduce the number of these incidents by using the new recycling points at our Wildlife Centres and at other points around the UK.

“We strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra careful to ensure nothing is left behind. Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal. We ask all those who enjoy fishing to follow the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme to dispose of their waste tackle and line.”

If you see an animal you have concerns about please call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 123 4999.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Az-zahra Aziz

Fishermen should be charged a license fee with the cash going straight to the RSPCA. They care little for causing pain, and suffering to fish, boasting about how ‘they fought’ it for hours to land it, yet imagine if hunters boasted how they dragged a Deer for hours, as it fought for it’s one life. Not against eating fish or meat, but people who don’t care for their victim before taking it’s life need a wake up call, and with these selfish, cruel people, the pocket is likely the only thing to hurt them back AND help the RSPCA mend… Read more »

West Wighter

F off


Not everyone who goes fishing is cruel to fish but you can’t catch fish without hooks. And nets aren’t kind to fish as they drown

Az-zahra Aziz

Nothing wrong with fishing to eat such, don’t just brag about how you ‘fought’ it, stood safely on dry land, with a highly geared reel, so it had no chance.

Likely mess yourselves if in the water with a shark, when IT had the upper hand.

One thing I will say, I imagine a lot of this so called ‘dumped’ fishing line etc, is not always dumped, but snaps and is lost by the owner until it washes up again.

Az-zahra Aziz

Not all, but if most were in the water with a shark, then seeing that creature ‘having the advantage’ they would mess themselves. Easy when YOU are on dry land, with a highly geared reel, dragging something until it is so exhausted it then gets dragged to either suffocate or have it’s head stove in.

Fine ‘sport’, by heroic ‘men’.

Some right charmers, as we see above.

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