Warning of fishing line hazard to Mansfield and Ashfield’s wildlife

Ray Hallam at the Hermitage Pond with the swans who are at risk from fishermens discarded line.
Ray Hallam at the Hermitage Pond with the swans who are at risk from fishermens discarded line.

WILDLIFE lovers are calling for action to be taken to protect wild birds and animals from fishing line that is left at local beauty spots by negligent fishermen.

An increasing amount of discarded tackle has been retrieved from in and around the ponds at Sutton Lawn and The Hermitage nature reserve, as well as by King’s Mill Reservoir.

Wendy Radford, from Cedar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kirkby, said that a swan wrapped up in line was seen on the pond at Sutton Lawn last week, while another was recently found dead with its feet tangled up.

She said that fishermen who leave fishing line behind are being ‘irresponsible’.

Ray Hallam, from the Friends of The Hermitage, off Kings Lodge Drive, goes down every day to feed the birds and is constantly finding discarded fishing line - despite it being a no fishing reserve.

He said: “It’s getting worse because there’s that many people coming to fish.

“They just discard the line and it goes into the water or trees.”

Ray said that when they do clean ups of the reserve they often find balls of line and they frequently have to free swans and other birds when they have become tangled.

They can end up swallowing it and get it wrapped round their beaks so it starts cutting into their flesh.

“What really wants to happen is as simple as having someone to come round and make sure the no fishing rule is being obeyed,” he said.

“Or they should allow fishing and have a water bailiff making sure that they fish correctly.”

A spokesman for Ashfield District Council said: “The council’s park employees liaise daily with the water bailiff at Sutton Lawn who is responsible for ensuring that that the water is free from debris and that the fishermen adhere to strict fishing regulations in order to reduce the risk to any wildlife.”

Martyn Thurman, head of neighbourhood services at Mansfield District Council which manages The Hermitage, said that they are aware that people have been fishing there and are concerned about the problems this is causing to the wildlife.

“These people are acting carelessly and their actions are having a devastating effect on the natural environment of the reserve,” he said.

“We are arranging for our neighborhood wardens to increase patrols within the area to stop people from fishing and we look to the ‘Friends of’ group to highlight any issues within the reserve to us.

“I would also encourage visitors to the reserve to contact us and report anyone breaking the no fishing rule, so we can investigate and carry out our patrols accordingly.”