NORTH HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Town of North Hempstead, located on the North Shore of Long Island, boasts more than 31 miles of coastline along the Long Island Sound, encompassing portions of Little Neck Bay, Manhasset Bay and Hempstead Harbor, and an enthusiastic population of fisherman. With an eye on keeping discarded monofilament fishing line out of the waters where it could harm marine life, the Town produced a unique and cost-effective solution—the fishing line receptacle.
The Town-made fishing line receptacles recently caught the eye of the New Jersey/New York Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and have been included in the agency's Trash Free Waters program, which supports land-based aquatic trash prevention and reduction initiatives to reduce plastics in our waterways. The Trash Free Waters partnership seeks to help states, municipalities, academia, NGO's and businesses work together to develop innovative aquatic trash reduction strategies.
This month, The Town of North Hempstead was selected to receive the 2016 Environmental Champion Award from the EPA, Region 2, in recognition of its fishing line receptacle initiative and its "outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health."
"Plastics don't belong in our harbors and oceans. Once in our waters, plastics cause great harm to a wide range of species that we all depend on," said Judith A. Enck, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator. "The discarded fish line receptacles provide a low-cost, yet highly-effective project that produces clear and measureable results, as well as informs citizens on the importance of ocean stewardship."
"Each year our Bay Constables rescue sea birds and other marine life that have become entangled in discarded fishing line," said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. "It can be hard for animals to detect fishing line when it is left near the water. This can entangle wildlife, leading to their slow and painful death. The handy receptacles will prevent discarded fishing line from harming our wildlife and our water."
The receptacles are the handiwork of the Town's Chief Bay Constable Mal Nathan, who saw similar devices while fishing in Florida and the program was implemented in conjunction with the Town's Office of Sustainability. All components for the fishing line receptacles can be purchased at any home improvement store for about $40 in parts. The receptacles are all made in-house, and have been placed at six of the Town's parks where people tend to fish. In addition, the Town designed signs instructing people how to dispose of the fishing line using graphics, so that any non-English speaking person could also easily understand its meaning.
"As the water quality in our bays and harbors has continued to improve, more wildlife has returned such as diamondback turtles that were once almost extinct," said Eric Swenson, Executive Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee. "We cannot afford to lose any of these creatures simply because of improperly discarded fishing line. We therefore thank the Town of North Hempstead for its foresight in this project."
"This is one of those times when a simple solution can cure a big problem" said Jennifer Wilson-Pines, Co-President of the North Shore Audubon Society. "Improperly discarded fishing line is a hazard not only in the marine environment, but can be fatally attractive to birds seeking nesting materials. I have had to climb into a tree to cut loose a bird that was hanging from monofilament wound around its leg."
If you have any questions please call 311 or 516-869-6311. To watch a video on how to construct a monofilament fishing line receptacle visit: https://youtu.be/j8pTmYvfgaY
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Rebecca Cheng, Sam Marksheid, and Vicki DiStefano | (516) 869-7794
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SOURCE Town of North Hempstead