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Proper disposal of fishing line critical to wildlife safety

Patty Gamby created a disposal unit for used fishing lines. She hopes to get a number of them placed around Ocean Pines ponds to help protect wildlife.

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(Oct. 19,2023) Many people love to fish in the various ponds in Ocean Pines, but sometimes fishing line can get caught in trees or just left on the ground by careless anglers.

During a recent fishing tournament, two birds were injured after they got caught up in the monofilament fishing lines. One problem is that people fishing apparently can’t find a place to safely discard fishing line.

Enter Patty Gamby, an environmental engineer and member of the Environment and Natural Assets Advisory Committee in Ocean Pines.

“This is a problem that is not unique to the Pines,” Gamby said.

When she heard about the problems with fishing lines, she looked online to see if she could find a disposal unit. When she could not, she got to work designing one.

She created a unit made out of PVC pipe with an elbow at the top and a cap at the bottom.  The materials cost about $30. Her husband made a prototype for her and she provided an instructional label on it using her Cricket.

She has walked the south pond and identified four locations to mount the units on posts that have already been placed around the pond.

She said the environment committee has been working closely with the Anglers Club on this project. Club members have agreed to help monitor the disposal units and empty them when necessary.

Gamby said there is a specific way to dispose of monofilament lines. When the containers are full, they will empty them and burn the contents. She said it would not be appropriate to put the fishing line in the trash as is, because it could still trap and injure birds and other wildlife.

By burning the content, the plastic will become a small ball that can then be thrown out.

Gamby said they still need to get approval to place the units. If they do not get funding from OPA for the units, she plans to encourage people or groups to donate to the cause.