A summer student with the Muskoka Conservancy has launched a new pilot program to recycle fishing line.
The program was launched at the Muskoka Wharf. A system will also be installed at the George Rd. boat launch in Bracebridge and the boat launch at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst.
Ayden Veitch, who is taking Marine and Fresh Water Biology at Guelph University, is the brains behind the idea. He explains anglers can throw their worn-out or tangled lines into the recycling tubes. The material will be collected at the end of the season and sent to Berkley Fishing to be properly recycled and made into new plastic products.
“I’ve seen this a lot in the United States and it’s starting to work its way into Manitoba and a couple of places in Ontario,” Veitch says.
Scott Young, Executive Director of Muskoka Conservancy, says having a young person like Veitch on board is so important. “They have more at stake because they have their whole futures ahead of them,” he says. In Veitch’s case, Young says he provides fishing expertise that the conservancy didn’t previously have.
“I think us grey beards need to listen to them a little bit more,” Young jokes.
With around 1.5 million anglers in Ontario, Veitch believes they can all do more to protect the environment. “Just to recycle all the fishing lines that are in boats will help a lot,” Veitch says. “When they get back to the launch at the end of the day they can recycle it and they, hopefully, won’t throw it in the water or ground so it doesn’t damage any property or hurt any animals.”
“Improperly disposed fishing line is a problem for birds, turtles, and fish because when they encounter it, they can become tangled up and get injured or drown,” Veitch explains.
If all goes according to plan, this will be at every boat launch in Muskoka and any other popular fishing spots.
Graydon Smith, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka and the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, says he will take this idea back to his staff at Queen’s Park. “I think it’s an interesting opportunity for us to explore a little more,” he says, calling the program a good education piece.
Likewise, Bracebridge Coun. Steven Clement, who attended the event representing town council, says he will bring this up at the town’s next meeting on Aug. 31. He adds that he’s already discussed with Veitch the possibility of installing more recycling systems at other spots in Bracebridge. “It’s nice to see young people stepping up to help the Town of Bracebridge and the environment,” Clement says.
“Education is by far the most important thing with angling in general,” Veitch says. “This will just be with that. We’ll try and put it out on social media, get it out in newsletters, everything to try and educate everyone. Not just the older fisherman, the new fisherman. Everyone needs to be educated on this.”
“He’s initiated this program on his own in addition to his other responsibilities at the conservancy,” Young boasts, adding that Veitch started working with them a few years ago when he was a student at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School.
“It’s good to protect nature now when I’m young and hopefully the next generation will do the same,” Veitch says.