Fishing Litter

Fishing litter (hooks, weights, line) causes injury and death to thousands of wild animals every year:

  • Hooks can become embedded in - or even pierce - the skin;
  • Hooks, line and weights can be swallowed, causing internal blockages, injury and poisoning;
  • Line can wrap around an animal, cutting off the blood supply;
  • Wildlife entangled in line may suffer a slow death due to starvation.  

Find out what to do if you see an injured wild animal.

What can you do?

  • Fishing hook removed from mute swan
    Take old fishing line and spools to recycling points in local tackle shops or fisheries. Your nearest recycling point can be found on the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS). Alternatively, old fishing line can be posted to the address on the ANLRS page.
  • Be aware of surrounding trees - line caught in foliage can entangle wildlife.
  • Don't leave baited tackle unattended - remove bait from the hook and put the tackle in a safe place.
  • Use a bait box.
  • Help keep your local river, canal or coastline litter-free. Dispose safely of any rubbish you see, even if it is not your own! 
  • Put up our Fishing Litter poster (PDF 135KB) to raise awareness.

Swans and fishing litter

Cygnet with fishing litter injury

Swans are the most common wild bird admitted to our wildlife centres, large numbers as a result of fishing litter. 

A report for the Environment Agency estimated that we and other groups attend around 3,000 swans injured by fishing litter in Britain each year.

Tackling the issue 

Angling organisations and the Environment Agency have produced codes of practice to encourage responsible behaviour. 

We've joined forces with the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency and the National Swan Convention (NSC) to tackle the problem.

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