CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As people gear up for summer fishing, some conservationists in the Coastal Bend are providing insight to the public on preventing fishing line from getting tangled with marine life.
Tom Burger is a local fisherman who has been fishing for more than 50 years.
“As a kid, my grandfather had some waterfront property on the eastern shore in Maryland and we would always go fishing and crabbing,” Burger said.
Though everyone is looking for the big catch of the day, sometimes the big catch can be unexpected.
“We were out casting at Packery Channel and as you would cast, the sea gull would fly down and grab the bait,” he said.
In many cases, people would have cut the line with the bird attached to it, but this is incorrect. But, if a turtle or bird become snagged, don’t cut the line because that could be endangering the wildlife.
Jesse Gilbert is the president and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium. He said that it’s okay to have fun but remember to respect the animals.
"It does really become an entanglement issue for wildlife; bird, sea turtles, even marine mammals,” Gilbert said. “At the Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rescue Center that's a big part in what we do. A lot of animals come in entangled in fishing lines, they've swallowed a hook, we'll find different lures on them and different things like that."
Kelly Taylor, the chief of education for the Padre Island National Seashore said that people need to remember that fishing lines are plastic.
“It's important to properly dispose of fishing line because it can become dangerous," Taylor said. "It is virtually invisible, so everything from sea turtles to birds to people and even boat motors can get tangled up in it.”
However, Burger believed that everyone plays a role in making the world better for marine animals.
“Take all that crap, even when you are in a boat, take that stuff home. There is always a trash can at the landing or when you get back to the car. Just be responsible and don’t leave your trash,” Burger said.
Officials say whenever possible, retrieve and dispose of any fishing lines that you encounter. For more information, click here.