Fishing line recycling launched at Lay Lake

Published 10:29 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

When fishing line falls in the water, it can remain in the environment for 600 years.

These discarded lines prove hazardous to animals that become entangled in them and costly to boaters when the line gets wound around a boat’s propeller.

“Lay Lake is a resource that is utilized so much as a point of recreation for fishing, and broken fishing line can be an issue for animals in the water and people’s property,” said Chad Scroggins, environmental supervisor for Shelby County. “We certainly want to keep the litter out of the waterway.”

A number of programs have partnered to launch a fishing line recycling program to combat this issue. The first three recycling bins were installed two weeks ago at Beeswax Creek Park, the launch at the end of Shelby County Highway 400 and Paradise Point Marina.

“Programs like this provide public education to the fishermen, making them aware of what they’re putting in the water,” Scroggins said.

All line collected will be recycled to create fish habitats that won’t decompose, he said.

The Lower Coosa Clean Water Partnership, along with other local and state groups, modeled the fishing line recycling program after similar ones across the state and nation. They plan to install recycling bins in more locations soon.

One bin will be placed in Beeswax Bait and Grocery on Lay Lake. Discarded fishing line has been an issue on the lake, but there wasn’t a convenient solution before now, said James McMon, the store’s owner.

“I’m going to tell everyone in here about it,” he said. “It’ll get a lot better if everyone chips in.”

Lay Lake has gotten attention in recent years hosting professional tournaments like the Bassmaster Classic, which draws people from places as far away as Japan, McMon said.

“This isn’t just any lake,” McMon said. “The Coosa River chain is well-known, and it’s too good of a natural resource not to take care of it.”

To find out more about the project, locations of recycling bins and how to get involved, call Shelby County Environmental Services at 669-3737.