THE fight against plastic pollution in our waterways has been joined by a new Facebook group determined to address the mess made by angling products.
Anglers Against Single-Use Plastic In The Tackle Trade is a first step in spearheading a campaign for the industry to change from plastic packaging.
The fast-growing group was quickly joined by over 3,000 people, and has continued to grow since featuring in Angler’s Mail magazine.
They want a shift over to using biodegradable alternatives instead of potentially harmful plastic packaging.
Founder, Norfolk-based fish artist and conservationist Chris Turnbull explained: “Our environment is being swamped in single-use plastic, and I decided the other day to try to have an impact in the angling world.
“Very little of it is recycled and tons of it is ending up in our rivers and oceans every day where it gradually breaks up into ever smaller pieces and is consumed into the food chain.
“The fishing tackle industry and trade adds a huge volume of waste plastic packaging to this problem and it is time it put its house in order.
“Frankly I have been overwhelmed by the response to the group in such a short space of time.
“We have already been joined by a number of tackle dealers, a pike bait company has been in touch for advice about viable alternatives to plastic bags for freezing bait, and Simon Gardner, who runs a carp bait company has enquired about alternatives for bagging boilies.
“I am in the process of forming a steering group and we have people on board who work in plastics or are in the angling trade.
“We will be containing all tackle manufacturers in due course, and will then be planning an email by members to encourage them to make changes.
“The Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme have also joined and we hope to get advice from them on our strategy,” added Chris.
The recently established ANLRS has shown the way forward in fighting litter pollution by providing outlets in tackle shops and fisheries where anglers can leave unwanted and discarded line.
Fishery scientist and fish farmer Viv Shears, who helps runs the scheme, said: “I have been invited to be on the steering group of the new plastics group and hope to put forward ideas from our own experience.
“We now have 120 tackle shops signed up and a dozen fisheries and so far we have collected 400,000 metres of line.
“We have recently completed a survey of 1,060 anglers from which we estimate about 1.25 million kilometres of line is used annually in this country so the potential for more recycling is vast and it is vital that anglers are encouraged to recycle as much as possible,” he concluded.
Trade backs plastic packaging call
NAIDRE WERNER, chair of the Angling Trades Association believes it is time for the tackle manufacturers to act on plastic packaging.
Naidre commented: “I think that it’s a great idea that anglers are coming together to make everyone aware of the consequences of litter and pollution.
“The second Blue Planet series narrated by David Attenborough did a massive amount to help raise awareness of the damage that can be done to our seas and waterways.
“I have no doubt that manufacturers and others in the trade are paying attention but the public needs to be aware that planning and changes to production processes do not happen overnight – it all takes time, and money.
“In addition, the knock-on effect of changing processes and changing packaging to biodegradable products could have an effect on the overall selling price.
“But if we are all serious about saving the planet for future fisherman, then a few pence extra per item should be worth it,” she concluded.
Giant tackle firm Mustad are already looking into using biodegradable and sustainable cardboard boxes for their hooks as an alternative to plastic packaging.
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