‘Mind Your Line’ dumpsters are drop off points for hooks, line

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:

The beauty of Southwest Florida reels in visitors from all over and those visitors do the reeling, too. But it some cases, the big catch is the wrong catch.

“We were told that somebody had accidentally hooked a sea turtle off of a pier,” said Dr. Robin Bast, a staff veterinarian for C.R.O.W. Clinic. “It happens. It’s by chance, it’s not by purpose, but it happens.”

The C.R.O.W. Clinic shared x-rays with WINK News showing hooks and fishing line in birds and turtles. Dr. Bast said in the last month-and-a-half, a couple of sea turtles came in with that problem and are now recovering at its Sanibel Island clinic.

“Recovery is going really smoothly,” Dr. Bast said about one of the turtles. “The hook removal, luckily in this case was relatively simple because the hook was just embedded at the base of the mouth.”

For people that accidentally hook a creature or find an animal in need, they are asked to cut the line with the excess hanging off and bring the animal to a clinic, if possible. However, they should not cut the line and let the animal go off, thinking it will be okay.

While the folks at the C.R.O.W. Clinic have seen sea turtle patients recently, they said the overall situation of animals ingesting and getting tangled in fishing line has improved.

“It is fairly common,” Dr. Bast said. “That’s why we started the collaborative a couple years back called, ‘Mind Your Line.'”

Breanna Frankel, a rehab manager and admissions specialist with C.R.O.W. Clinic, said there are Mind Your Line dumpsters for hook and line throughout Sanibel and Captiva islands.

“They’re basically large P.V.C. pipes that are put up around the island with appropriate sticker and lettering,” Frankel said. “We know exactly what they’re used for and when you’re done fishing, you can just take your line and dispose of it right there.”

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