The Effects of Fishing Line

    Fishing line pollution poses a real threat to wildlife, not to mention a hazard to boaters and divers. The most common type of fishing line, nylon mono-filament fishing line, is made from various types of polymers which take a very long time to break down. Discarded fishing line can last for hundreds of years in the environment. Wildlife can become entangled or ingest discarded fishing line, injuring or killing the animal. There are numerous cases of birds, ducks, turtles, dolphins, seals, sea lions, fish, coral, whales, and many other animals being entangled in discarded fishing line. 

This Laughing Gull is entangled in monofilament fishing line. Trying to eat is difficult with the fishing line wrapped around his beak. 

A sea turtle is completely tangled in used fishing line. He was found, washed up on a beach and saved. A local veterinarian untangled the fishing line and successfully released the turtle back into the wild. Not all animals are this lucky when it comes to fishing line. 


This Albatross chick was found dead near a lake. The contents of his stomach included plastic and fishing line. 

It Takes Time to Decompose

Plastic bags -10-20 years
Glass bottle – 1 million years
Plastic Beverage Bottle – possibly 500+ years
Cotton rags - 1-5 months
Paper - 2-5 months
Rope (natural fiber) - 3-14 months
Orange peels - 6 months
Wool socks - 1-5 years
Cigarette filters - 3-12 years
Milk cartons - 5 years
Leather shoes - 25-40 years
Nylon fabric - 30-40 years
Plastic 6-pack holder rings - 450 years
Styrofoam cup - 100 years
Banana peels - 2-10 days
Monofilament fishing line - 600 years

*Monofilament fishing line*

If you ever wish to recycle some fishing line on your own, the address below is the main plant used to recycle fishing line.

Berkley Recycling
1900 18th Street
Spirit Lake, Iowa 51360