When a fishing line is thrown away and exposed to wildlife, death becomes a possibility after they can get tangled and unable to break free.
In an effort to reduce that likelihood, Coquitlam has now placed new waste bins at two go-to fishing spots for anglers to properly dispose of their lines, hooks and lead in order to protect the local ecosystem.
Como and Lafarge lakes are popular areas for fishing, the city says in a statement, as rainbow trout frequent the waters in the spring and fall months.
Urban Forestry and Parks Services Manager Erin Gorby says using the bins is strongly urged as it remains illegal to feed birds or any wildlife in city parks and doing so can result in a fine of up to $500.
"Fishing line and hooks left in vegetation or discarded near lakes are a danger to birds and wildlife – regularly getting snagged on their beaks, wings, necks and other parts and becoming increasingly tangled as they fight to get free," she explains.
"Discarded lines are also unsightly and an environmental hazard because they do not biodegrade."
In total, four new waste bins have been installed — two at Como Lake Park and two at Town Centre Park.
New signage reminding residents and visitors to not feed wildlife are set to be installed in the weeks ahead as leaving a fishing line in their sight could ultimately prevent them from feeding, flying or protecting themselves from predators.
The initiative is a partnership between the city and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.
HOW CAN I FISH RESPONSIBLY?
Coquitlam requires those aged 16 years and older wanting to fish in local lakes to obtain a recreational freshwater fishing license.
This can be done online through the province's e-licensing system or a local license vendor, the city explains.
Once granted, anglers are asked to follow several tips such as:
- Limiting catch to two trout per day.
- The city asks anglers to not "keep more fish than you can consume"
- If using the catch-and-release method, keep the fish wet and let them go as quickly as possible
- Treat fish humanely
- If you keep your catch, kill it quickly as keeping it alive in a container is illegal
- Cast safely – look behind you first and cast away from trees, walkways and trails
- Avoid fishing in heavily vegetated areas
- Hooks and lines often become caught in branches
- Better to fish from docks or open areas
- Leave your fishing spot cleaner than you found it – check around for garbage or discarded line