A Reel Way to Recycle Fishing Line in Hempstead Town, New Program Aimed at Keeping Bays Tangle-Free

In an effort to safeguard marine wildlife and keep our bays tangle-free, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Angie Cullin announced the launching of "Reel Recycling," a program to promote the proper disposal of monofilament fishing line.

Murray, Cullin, Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin and Town Clerk Mark Bonilla joined project partners at Seaman's Neck Park in Seaford on Thursday, August 18th for a press conference to kick off Hempstead Town's new fishing line recycling program. It is the first comprehensive monofilament fishing line recycling program in Nassau County. The project partners, from local environmental and fishing groups, include the New York Marine Trades Association, New York Sea Grant, the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council, the Hempstead Shellfisherman's Association, the New York State Department of State and Operation SPLASH.

When not properly recycled, fishing line litters shorelines and bays, while creating hazards for swimmers, boaters and wildlife. The non-biodegradable plastic line has been shown to entrap seagulls, turtles and other marine life and shore birds.

"When not disposed properly, monofilament fishing line can be damaging to our environment and harmful to our precious wildlife," Murray said. "Hempstead Town's Reel Recycling program will help keep our bays tangle-free."

Specially designed fishing line recycle bins will soon be stationed at 10 sites across the township. Those sites are Guy Lombardo Marina, Inwood Marina, Point Lookout East Marina, Point Lookout West Marina, Woodmere Docks, Shell Creek Park, Seaman's Neck Park, Seaford Docks, Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve and Harbor Isle Park. Fishing line can be deposited into any of these collection bins.

"Operation SPLASH is dedicated to keeping our waterways clean and free of debris," said Rob Weltner, the organization's President. "Monofilament fishing line poses a life threatening danger to waterfowl, shorebirds and marine life if it is disposed of improperly. Hempstead Town is helping keep our bays free of dangerous old fishing line with these recycling units, and we are proud to partner with the town on working toward cleaner bays and waterways."

"New York Sea Grant applauds the Town of Hempstead and Supervisor Murray's effort to keep our waterways free of fishing line," said Jay Tanski, senior coastal processes and facilities specialist for the New York Sea Grant Program. "It is yet one more example of the town's proactive and progressive approach to protecting the environment and our valuable marine resources."

"I congratulate Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead for their initiative to protect and preserve the South Shore Estuary through the Fishing Line Recycle Program," Secretary of State Cesar Perales said. "This program clearly demonstrates the town's commitment to maintain and enhance the health of the estuary and the local economy."

Murray and Cullin emphasized that these new receptacles are exclusively for monofilament fishing line. Cans, bottles and trash are not permitted in these special fishing line recycle bins.

"These fishing line recycling sites will help us keep our beautiful bays cleans," Cullin said. "Please remember to keep these containers litter-free."

"Our specialized recycling bins provide people with the opportunity to safely dispose of fishing line," Murray said. "Please remember to keep these containers litter-free. I urge fishers to utilize this new environmentally friendly program."