Discarded monofilament line and other fishing gear can be incredibly persistent and deadly in the environment. Experts estimate that modern monofilament line will take as much as 600 years to fully degrade in marine conditions. That’s 600 years of deadly entanglements and thousands of dead or maimed animals.
This Great Black-backed Gull’s foot is entangled in yards of discarded monofilament fishing line. I watched this bird for over a year off-and-on during visits to West Haven Connecticut’s Sandy Point. It survived, but eventually lost the entangled foot and much of its lower leg.