Coast KZN

24 Apr 2021

Bags of discarded tackle fished out of uMngeni River

(Northglen News) Picture: Enviro champs from the Amanzi Ethu Nobuntu Project, Azile Mpukwana, Thabani Nhlenyama and Londiwa Skhakane show some of the discarded fishing tackle they have collected along the banks of the uMngeni River.

Members of the Amanzi Ethu Nobuntu Project collected several bags of discarded fishing tackle on the banks of the uMngeni River in the last two weeks.

According to Margaret Burger of the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy, who has worked closely with a group of about 30 volunteers, discarded fishing tackle poses a significant threat to marine habitats and wildlife.

Overall the pilot project has seen more than 300 eco-rangers hard at work monitoring water quality, looking at soil salinity, inspecting water inlets, repairing trails and removing alien invasive plants along the river. Members of the group have been specifically focused on the uMngeni side of the river, specifically from Connaught Bridge to the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve where they have also been involved in clean-ups.

“As part of our bio-monitoring of the uMngeni River we did an informal clean-up where we collected bags of discarded fishing tackle, either on the river’s banks or on the grass around Blue Lagoon. We normally walk from the Green Hub to the Athlone Bridge where we look at the factors determining the health of the river. Key to this exercise is the team have seen first-hand the harm the discarded tackle causes from the evidence they’ve seen.

“They’ve seen it particularly with birds like the Hadeda Ibis and Woolly Necked Stork who forage near or in the river. It’s also offered them an opportunity to interact with anglers and raise awareness on the detrimental effects fishing tackle has on the environment. If we want to improve the health of the estuary for the birds, and they keep getting entangled in fishing lines, it’s a no win situation for the environment as a whole. I do feel this is a problem we could avoid,” Burger explained.