Fishing Litter

Fishing litter (hooks, weights and lines) causes injury and death to thousands of wild animals every year. This is because:

  • 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 their 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.

Swans and fishing litter

Swans are the most common wild bird admitted to our wildlife centres, and large numbers of them come to us 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.

What can you do to prevent fishing litter?

You can help your local wildlife by taking old fishing line and spools to recycling points in local tackle shops or fisheries. Find your nearest recycling point via the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS). Alternatively, you can post old fishing line to the address on the ANLRS page.

You can also do your bit by:

  • Being aware of surrounding trees - wildlife can get tangled up in line caught in foliage
  • Not leaving baited tackle unattended - remove bait from the hook and put the tackle in a safe place
  • Using a bait box
  • Disposing safely of rubbish - help keep your local river, canal or coastline litter-free by picking up and throwing away any rubbish you see, even if it's not yours!
  • Raising awareness - put up our Fishing Litter poster to help raise awareness.

Tackling the issue

We've joined forces with the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency and the National Swan Convention (NSC) to tackle the problem. What's more, angling organisations and the Environment Agency have produced codes of practice to encourage responsible behaviour.

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