Anglers are being asked to be careful with their fishing litter over the summer holidays – a time of year when the numbers of swans suffering from related injuries rise.
Injuries caused by carelessly discarded fishing tackle are a problem for wildlife throughout the year, but particularly for swans in the summer.
Already this month two injured cygnets have been taken to our Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire - one entangled in line and the other with line hanging from the mouth.
Dramatic rise in wildlife casualties
The number of swans admitted to our wildlife centres with fishing injuries more than tripled during the summer months of last year - up from 22 in May to 92 in July.
This dramatic rise is thought to be due to novice anglers choosing to fish at this time, making the most of warmer weather and holiday time. Being inexperienced, they do not always dispose of tackle properly.
Low water levels also mean discarded tackle becomes exposed and swans are more likely to come in to contact with it.
Dr Andrew Kelly, our head of wildlife, said:
If people could see some of the sights which come into our wildlife centres, I think they would think twice about what they do with their fishing litter.
What is so frustrating is that these horrific injuries are so unnecessary and all it takes is a bit of care to avoid them. Angling is enjoyed by many people, and many anglers invest substantial time and money in improving the waterside environment.
The vast majority of them do dispose of their unwanted fishing tackle properly. Now we need to reach the minority who don’t – particularly at this time of the year when the situation seems to get particularly bad.
Working together to tackle fishing litter
For the first time we've joined forces with The Angling Trust, the Environment Agency and the National Swan Convention (NSC), which represents swan rescue groups, in an attempt to tackle these problems.
Mark Lloyd, of the Angling Trust, said:
Most anglers have a real love of the environment and hate to hear of swans and other wildlife being injured in this way.
It is just the irresponsible few who cause the problems, and many of them may just not be thinking about the consequences of their actions. We hope that by raising a bit of awareness we can make them think twice.
We are delighted to be working with the RSPCA and NSC for the first time to find a solution to these problems – the more people work together the more chance we’ll have of tackling this problem at source.
Top tips for responsible fishing
For tips on how to dispose of tackle safely read our blog post:
If you spot an injured wild animal call our national cruelty helpline on 0300 1234 999.