Special to The News-Press12:06 a.m. EDT May 22, 2014
Fishing is an important part of the Florida lifestyle as well as its economy. In spite of the obvious benefits, this leisure-time activity, on occasion, can lead to problems for birds and other wildlife such as sea turtles and manatees.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists, monofilament fishing line and fishing hooks can entangle these animals, leading to injury and even death.
The brown pelican is one species that is especially affected by monofilament line. These birds frequently spend time looking for an easy meal at piers and other fishing hot spots, where they are often hooked accidentally when trying to grab bait off an angler's line. In addition, discarded monofilament line hanging from trees, piers and other structures can ensnare these birds. Once entangled, pelicans can have a difficult time flying and feeding.
"It is not uncommon to find dead pelicans entangled with fishing line and hooks," said FWC biologist Ricardo Zambrano. "If they are not rescued, these birds may suffer for days before succumbing to injury or starvation."
Here are some simple things people can do to help protect brown pelicans and other wildlife: