New Fishing Line Safer for Environment

from the Daily Comet, with permission from the author

In June of this year, the LSU AgCenter started a local monofilament recovery and recycling program for used fishing line. It is a local effort to educate the public on the problems caused by monofilament line left in the environment, to encourage recycling through a network of line-recycling bins and drop-off locations, and to conduct volunteer monofilament line cleanup events.

Recycling bins like these can be seen at local boat launches and fishing piers in Terrebonne and Lafourche parish. These bins are part of the LSU AgCenter’s monofilament recovery and recycling program. La. Sea Grant Marine Extension Program and LSU AgCenter’s local America’s Wetland Conservation Corps members will continue to install and maintain recovery bins at boat launches and fishing piers in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

After a column explaining the program appeared in The Courier, the LSU AgCenter received several e-mails concerning alternatives to using monofilament fishing line. It seems that even fishing line has gone “green.”

A doctor from Portland, Ore., who specialized in medical sutures that dissolve in the human body after surgery created a great new product. Most petroleum-based monofilament fishing line stays in the environment for 500 years. Even then it only photodegrades. It does not biodegrade. The new BioLINE works like normal line for a year then dissolves to a trace amount of carbon dioxide and water.

“While we always encourage retrieving any broken line, safety and practicality sometimes make that impossible,” the manufacturer’s Web site states. “With our biodegradable line, nature has a fighting chance. Traditional monofilament fishing lines endanger and obstruct habitat for over 600 years. New braided super-lines, even longer. We found a better solution. Bioline biofilament fishing line biodegrades in the environment in five years. Further during years 2-5 it is significantly degraded permitting wildlife to easily break free should accidental entanglement occur.”

The concept of biodegradable fishing line was first advanced at a company that made medical sutures – the stitches that dissolve in the human body after surgery. After years of development, testing, technological and manufacturing advances, they released Bioline: America’s first biodegradable fishing line.

Bioline looks and feels like any Lo-Vis, Clear, Traditional Monofilament line. You will notice superior casting distance and exceptional knot strength, along with outstanding ultraviolet and abrasion resistance. Bioline does not absorb water like traditional monofilaments, and its characteristics do not change as it’s fished. And yes, should you break off a leader or length of line, it will be gone in five years versus 600. Even the storage spool is biodegradeable. Stored in its original package, Bioline has a five-year shelf life. Once spooled on a reel, the line will retain 100 percent of its strength for a period of 10 to 12 months, with no special handling.

Instructions for tournament-strength results include – Store Bioline unopened in its foil pouch until ready for use. Spool on reel. Wet knots prior to tightening. Change Bioline every season or on nine month intervals in year-round fisheries.

The difference between Bioline and nylon monofilaments, fluorocarbon, Spectra and Dyneema fiber lines is found in what happens once it comes off the reel, whether lost due to breakage or discarded as garbage. In roughly five years, Bioline degrades in the environment to a minimal quantity of carbon dioxide and water. Nylon monofilaments remain for 600 years, fluorocarbon longer, Spectra and Dyneema even longer. Bioline represents a 99 percent reduction in the active life of the line in the environment.

The problems with traditional lines in the environment extend well beyond being a nuisance and an eyesore. Direct ingestion, wildlife entanglement and destruction of corals have all been documented with respect to fishing lines. Given the life span of traditional materials, fishermen has only continued to add to the problem over decades, with centuries to go before the natural decomposition of the first nylon lines ever lost is complete.

Bioline embraces the best of technology, delivering the performance and handling of nylon monofilament within the working life of the line, yet containing its overall lifespan within years rather than centuries. While angler ethics have dramatically altered how fishermen handle fish and four-stroke outboards have refined marine power, Bioline offers an intelligent alternative in fishing line for the future of habitats.

Spool Weight: 3 ounces/85 grams. Capacity: 210 yards. Strengths: 4-, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-pound test. More sizes coming soon.

By David A. Bourgeois – an area agent with the LSU AgCenter. He can be reached at the office, 511 Roussell St., Houma, 873-6495 or