View Full Version : Accidental fishing vs discarded line

20-07-2007, 11:51 PM
Hi fishos.

I commend this site and its members, for showing responsiblility when it comes to the issue of discarded line. There were several postings, condemning the practice.
However, in the case of pelicans and many seabirds, the injuries caused are NOT caused primarily by discarded line. In fact, our 15 years of rescues and research indicate that 94% of all fishing tackle-related injuries are caused by ACCIDENTAL hookings of birds, while the fisher was fishing.
Our teams have captured over 1500 pelicans, and thousands of seabirds since 1994, and less than 6% of the injuries could be attributed to discarded tackle.
We have literally thousands of photos, which, unequivocably, tell the story.
I do, however, point out (as I indicated in caps print) that this occurs ACCIDENTALLY, and we recognise that. No fisho goes out to purposely hook a bird, and in fact, it's a pain in the a----- when it happens.
We get on well with our local fishos here on the N.Coast of NSW. They are aware of the problem, and call us immediately if the hook or see an injured bird.
I do, however, take offense to the terms "greenies" or "cronies". We are just a group of volunteers who relieve the suffering of these critters... often with the help of our local rec fishers. In fact, of all rescue calls received at our centre, over 50% are received from fishermen in the area.
In return, many times, we have assisted in towing fisho's broken-down boats back to shore, or towing their bogged vehicles out of deep sand.
All we ask, is that if a flamin' bird gets tangled or hooked in your gear, or you see one that might need help, let your local wildlife group know... or give us a call, and we may be able to direct you onto someone who can help.
We can capture most species of birds... even if they can still fly.

Best regards... and thanks to those who have posted some 'environmentally responsible' messages on this forum.

Lance Ferris
Australian Seabird Rescue Inc.
Ballina NSW.
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

21-07-2007, 12:11 AM
Better put a reply to this tommorow,
what the heck
Fisho dont deliberately try to hook birds and in 99% of cases they wrap the bird in a towel and release as gently as possible, damm hard when something is trying to bite the cra[p outa you. I have bred birds (pheasant, quial, cannieris, budgies, cockatiel, love birds) for a number of years and I believe there is more of a concern with habiatat and polution than the poor old fisho copping another blast from some one with nothing better to do or a plain easy bunch to target.
If like me and you really carwe for birds, look at the whole problem and not just a small section as your time could be better spennt.
had a few, only the spelling will be better tomorrow

21-07-2007, 12:24 AM

You needn't feel offended at the term "greenie" because we're not referring to you as one. When we say "greenie", we're referring to the eco-fascists and phony watermelon "front groups" (green on the outside red on the inside) and organizations out there that tell our children to call us murderers and carry out terrorist acts on people and property and act to deny us of our rights as free men and women in free nations. They're insane, bullying scumbags and they could be called far worse than "greenie."

I'm glad that you and your group are saving seabirds. And I'm glad you aren't a greenie.

I've personally rescued three birds and two geese that were caught in discarded fishing line and some that were hooked. I've never thrown line on the bank (I take it home with me and cut it up in tiny pieces) and I don't use floating lures in areas where I know seabirds are present or are likely to be present. Also, I carry a garbage bag with me when I go fishing or hiking to pick up any trash I see.

Many fisherfolk and hunters are the absolute strongest supporters of healthy environments you will ever hope to find. You seem to understand this. Please let other groups know this so they'll work with us in cooperation rather than view us as "the enemy." Thanks.

21-07-2007, 12:51 AM
Hi El_Carpo
Many thanks for the words. Yes, we know only too well, that most fishers are environmentally responsible.
It is odd.. though. Discarded line is a deliberate act by the careless few, but we are saying that WE UNDERSTAND THAT ACCIDENTAL HOOKING is just that... ACCIDENTAL. We blame no-one.
And to answer to 'blaze's previous post, we address hundreds of problems, not just the 'small section' of fishing tackle injuries. We work on habitat protection and many other pollution issues. Had Blaze read my words a little more carefully, he would have seen that we are NOT attacking the 'old fisho'.
And El_carpo, we have spread this message across Australia, and continue to do so, with the explicit intention of working co-operatively with the fishing fraternity.
As I said, in my first post, we regard fishos as good blokes. I have no complaints about any of them.
Only a week or so ago, the Evans Head Fishing Classic organisers, invited me to talk to the fishing kids at their show. I have done that for three years, and not only had a great time, but was well-received by all.
And as I said, all we ask is that the fishos make the call if they hook or see an injured bird.
No enemies... no attacks... no accusations... and we don't lay awake at night looking for 'another bunch to target'.
Best regards
Lance Ferris
Australian Seabird Rescue
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

21-07-2007, 01:03 AM
Living in todays world is best described as new steps that only the one would know. But todays fisher-people, in some cases, have the mind and fortitude to respect all living things, and to see us as blood thirsty hunters, is simply not the case. But there,s always a hand full of people who just dont get it.

To the bloke that broke that birds neck on the day I was in the sandy straits, shame on you. Very highly unlikely it was a member here. Just remember, people are watching. On a personal note, I need the birds to show me where the fish are working! So let them go with the best care you can.


21-07-2007, 01:21 AM
Hi Minno,

I agree with you, entirely. There is NOT one person in our organisation who refers to fishos as 'blood thirsty hunters'. One of our members is the president of a fishing club!
Whenever I have heard that said, we continually remind those people that most of our rescue calls come from fishos, who have spotted an injured bird... or sea turtle for that matter.
Without that co-operation, we wouldn't save half as many critters as we do.

Lance Ferris
Australian Seabird Rescue
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

21-07-2007, 09:03 AM
Hi Guys,

Funny that this thread should come up yesterday because I was out on the Bohle river here in TVL and so happens that I had a tangle with a seagull trying to pinch my live bait mullett I had out, natterally he or she got caught up in my line and I had a hell of a time trying to untangle it, thankfully the bird got away unscathed but I do have to question its sanity because it came back for more!

Good thead though.

jez and suze
21-07-2007, 10:02 AM
if you go down to manly and eat fish and chips you will see that out of every 20 seagulls you will only count 30 legs instead of 40.

21-07-2007, 01:26 PM
I personally carry a small bucket in my boat that I use for my smoke butts, fishing line and discarded tackle. I don't like throwing anything "unnatural"in the water. I recently had a run in with an older member of my family that had an awe full habit, When we were done fishing and about to head home he would cast out his line and than cut it off. I had a few stern words to him ( which at first he didn't appreciate) but he than understood so he has stopped his habit. I explained the dangers of his stupidity for both the enviroment and boat motors. I also told him that he wasnt welcome in my boat if he continued this behaviour. I know that sometimes line is accidently left behind but the deliberate acts need to be stopped.

ZX14 VS HAYABUSA (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Which_bike_is_quicker_kawasaki_zx_-14_or_suzuki_hayabusa)

21-07-2007, 04:24 PM
Gday Lance

It's good to see you stating your name and who you are working with rather than hiding behind the indemnity of a keyboard and pushing a hidden agenda that some do from time to time.

Keep up the good work mate. It's easier to work with fishos than against them as you have done. Cheers.


21-07-2007, 08:49 PM
Jez and Suze,
Interesting that you noticed the one-legged gulls. I often wonder if its line which caused the amputation, or fish snavelling the wiggling foot. There are just too many gulls with one foot to justify line entanglement.
I once saw a gull lose a foot. It was brilliant orange, and had I put a hook through it, I reckon it would have made the best lure on the planet!
Now... that DOESN'T mean that I'm advising fishos to go out and amputate gulls' legs! But, by crikey, it might indicate that fluorescent orange is a good colour for a lure.
I'd be REALLY interested to know if any of you guys have lures which are that colour, and how well they work.
Lance Ferris
Australian Seabird Rescue
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

21-07-2007, 10:38 PM
Hi Lance,

I am pretty sure that lots of gulls lose their legs to sharp toothed mackerel & tailor when the fish are attacking baitfish on the surface and the gulls drop down onto the water to try & get some of the scraps. If you have ever seen the damage inflicted by tailor & macks on baitfish, they could go through a seagull leg like it's not even there!

Gulls are not the best hunters anyway as they have become lazy & only good at tracking down food that looks like a deep fried potato chip! ;D BTW, lures with a touch of red on them have long been known as good for tailor.

Also, Pelicans never come near me when i'm fishing, only if i'm cleaning fish on the bank. They sure know how to play the percentages.


21-07-2007, 10:57 PM
maybe a few 'too' many Blaze, eaze up there. from what I could read it's just a friendly bit of advice. where do you get the '99%' stat from about fishos wrapping up hooked birds in towels?

there's a few heated backlashes here towards Lance. get off the back foot & take it on board, that's all, there is no need to attack.

Thanks Lance.


21-07-2007, 11:34 PM
maybe a few 'too' many Blaze, eaze up there. from what I could read it's just a friendly bit of advice. where do you get the '99%' stat from about fishos wrapping up hooked birds in towels?

there's a few heated backlashes here towards Lance. get off the back foot & take it on board, that's all, there is no need to attack.

Thanks Lance.


maybe your right, I had a couple of reds and maybe I have been a wee bit negitive to what lances is trying to achieve. All I was tring to say with the towel is that its probably the esiesest and safest way to untangle and dehook a bird and the 99% is just a blind figure I use as most fisherman I know are caring people and not ratbags. I will still get a tad upset if I see posts highlighting the plight of any animals, birds etc and the primary focus of that seems to target fisherman without mention of all the other factors that come into the plight of the species they are trying to protect.
There was a post not long back about protection of the forshore because of breeding birds on fraser island and no one was prepared to see this as a problem because they needed to drive there.
I am a conservatist, but try to be realistic.
Maybe Lance can also say what other things are seen as detrimental to these birds and what other people and groups should also look at there actions.
I had better stop or I will dribble all night
Had no reds tonight either

22-07-2007, 12:11 AM
it's all good Blaze. I for one only know you through reading your posts & I can see that you are certainly no ratbag & someone who cares about the animals & environment we live in & with. the '99%' remark was aimed more at the figure more-so than the method of which you are correct, but I needed some ammo mate & that was the best I could quote, sorry. no words were typed with malice intended so cheers Blaze, enjoy the Merlot mate.


22-07-2007, 02:31 AM
Hi Blaze,
Thanks for the posting.
Firstly, and I repeat, we are not attacking fishos. What we are saying, is that active fishers accidentally hooking birds, whether we like it or not, is a greater threat to estuarine and shorebirds, than any other cause. But mate, it is ACCIDENTAL. In NSW, a conservative estimate is that up to 10,000 birds become entangled or hooked, each year. Other States are the same. In Victoria, for instance, in one hour in a group of 10 pelicans, five had hooks.... I removed a total of 26 hooks and one lure from those five birds. All the injuries were consistent with active fishers accidentally hooking them. I've hooked them, myself, in the past.

There is not enough space, here, to tell you everything we deal with. We are on constant patrols of the beaches and rivershores, and pick up loads of garbage.

We also won a case in NSW Parliament in 2000 to have mass helium balloon releases, banned. I have found balloons in seabirds and seaturtles.

I personally lecture up to 10,000 students and people from interest groups, each year, at our centre, on many issues affecting our environment.

We rescue and rehabilitate endangered marine turtles, one of which cost us over $4,000 to rehabilitate... not bad for a volunteer organisation. We conduct research with Australian and overseas turtle centres, on better ways to save turtles which have swallowed fishing line, plastics and other rubbish... one turtle, recently, had 107 pieces of plastic and other garbage in its gut.

We work with NSW Fisheries and fishing groups, on better ways to avoid hooking birds.

We rescue stranded whales, dolphins and seals.

We work with Fisheries, Councils and landholders on better ways to manage waterways and canals, so that the negative effects of pollution and land-clearing don't affect the estuaries and oceans.

We supply photographic and documented evidence to dozens of Govt agencies, involved in pollution issues. AMSA, the Australian Marine Safety Authority, recently prosecuted a Russian ship for dumping plastic in the ocean... using our research... The ship's owners were fined $20,000.

We just won a case where dog owners were fighting to get more beach space to run their dogs. The area concerned was habitat for several endangered species of seabirds and shorebirds, and a known nesting site for marine turtles.

We also attend oil and chemical spills, where wildlife has been affected.

.... and that's just the tip the iceberg.

As a volunteer, I work a 15 hour day, seven days a week, on rescues and in our hospital. I have been on call, 24/7 for the last 15 years.... and had 3 days off in that 15 years. ALL our members are volunteers.

If you would like more info on what we do... see http://www.seabirdrescue.org/downloads.html

....or just check our website at www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

Mick (Jackinthebox).. thanks for the info on the colour of the lures. I guessed the gulls may have been losing more legs and feet to fish, rather than line.

Best regards to all.. and ... if you hook a bird, make the call.

Lance Ferris
Australian Seabird Rescue
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

23-07-2007, 12:48 PM
G'day Lance,

I remember seeing a doco about seabird rescue (was it on Australian Story?). I take my hat off to an individual so motivated towards any cause.
In so far as I can remember you've made some pretty major changes to your life to do this, and foregone a lot.

Good luck with it.

Is there an affiliated group for SEQ? Most of us catch fish/birds in the Greater Brisbane area.


23-07-2007, 04:45 PM
Russian ship fined $20000 for dumping plastic.

I wonder what happened to the Aust Navy who was caught on video dumping their rubbish overboard bag after bag being tossed over, what a disgrace.


23-07-2007, 05:45 PM
I have been fishing the Richmond river for the past 2 years..on many occasions i have seen flocks of pelicans feeding along with other seabirds, but I keep a close eye on them and never get to close because of the the chance of hooking them!!

these days alot of the lures look so realistic that the birds can't tell the difference!

The main birds i have trouble with are the crested terns..because i use soft plastics exclusively..they seem to hover overhead and target my lure??
so to avoid hooking them i reel in quickley and try to scare off the bird!!

So all i'm saying is that be aware of the environment in which you fish..in doing so there will be less hook ups of seabirds and turtles!!

All the time I have been fishing..although it's not that long..I have never hooked a bird.

I always remove any other rubbish that i find floating in the river aswell..I think it is a duty as a fisherman to have a bit more respect for the rivers and the sea in which we expect to get fish..if we all cared a little more, then there would be less rubbish and degradation to our waterways!!

Sorry for the rant!!

Cheers Chillihead.

23-07-2007, 09:17 PM
Chillihead and Dogsbody and GBC,

Hahaha... yours is not a rant, Chilli... compared to my rants :-)

But we do get a bit involved with what we do, I guess... as you guys do with your fishing.

You're quite right... crested terns are renowned for having a crack at soft plastics, and other baits cast out. We got two in, this week, already.

And yes GBC (C.J)... I was the clown leaping on pelicans on Aus. Story. Feel free to email me, and I will send you the contact details for the SE Qld rescue group.

Regards to all,
Lance Ferris
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

23-07-2007, 09:41 PM
I would just like to thank you Lance and all your volunteers that help you in the plight of all the distressed wildlife that you so passionately care about!

You all do an amazing job..i'm always on the lookout for the injured birds whilst fishing....unless i hook up to a big fish that is!! (sorry)

cheers Chillihead

23-07-2007, 09:54 PM
Hi Lance,

I fully welcome any input you have for Ausfish.

As a Ballina local, I am more than aware of the great work you do, many times have i enjoyed watching you do the big dive at a pelican, I have rung either you or one of your volunteers concerning sick or injured birds, even carried a wayward Echidna onto your place on the highway once (years ago).

The accusation of "greenie" ( not that it should be a bad thing), is unfounded here. A better phrase would be dedicated carer , Lance spends more of his own time & money than he can probably afford pursuing his passion, but still has time to sit & chat to a fisho as well, hell, he has even invited & allowed my kids & I to fish from his own property.

Seriously, give the guy a break,

As to the original question,

nothing annoys me more than the people who fish at the end of the cleaning tables while there are a dozen or more pelicans milling around waiting for a hand-out..........& then wonder why they hook one.........


23-07-2007, 10:25 PM
Steady Muzz....

Keep that up, and people will think I'm not such a bad bloke, after all!! :-)

And hey mate... fishos are our 'eyes on the water' in this district. There are dozens of guys like you, who are just as valuable to our organisation, as the ones who are at the coalface.

One local fisho came up to me in a pub and said,
"I spotted one of your flamin' pelicans the other day... he had a hook in his leg... I grabbed the bugger and got the hook out. And then I gave him a fish to send him on his way."

He added this, though (to maintain the 'image)..
"And don't you tell anyone that I'm a good bloke!"

I bought him a schooner.

Best regards
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)

23-07-2007, 10:27 PM
Yeah, give the guy a break! Haven,t you seen the movie called THE BIRDS. Next time you get a big crap on your windsreen, you will know that you have upset this man.:)

Just joking Lance, Good on you mate and keep up the good work.8-)


24-07-2007, 06:05 PM
It was funny, this year on one of the lbg ledges there was a pair of gannets that got hooked, brought in and unhooked about a dozen times.
While i listened to them all swearing and yeling about what those gannets would cop if they took their lines, the moment those guys hooked them, they were gentle giants who were only there to look after these birds. It was the funniest sight watching them being all macho one moment, then big sooks the next.

19-08-2007, 08:04 PM
Hi Ausfish members,
I feel that I have to say this:
I have shown the entries posted by you guys, to everyone at our Seabird Rescue Centre, and passed on your ideals to hundreds of visiting groups, which visit our centre every year.
One of our volunteers said, "As opposed to 'other' fishing website forums, you guys rock!"
Many thanks for listening to our concerns. We appreciate that you all enjoy your sport, and especially appreciate your concern for the environment.
Best regards,
And remember... if you hook a bird... make the call.
Lance Ferris
Australian Seabird Rescue Inc
Ballina NSW.
www.seabirdrescue.org (http://www.seabirdrescue.org)