West Seattle-based wildlife biologist Kersti Muul is asking Lincoln Park-area visitors to watch for a possibly injured Great Blue Heron. She explains that it got tangled in fishing line:
The heron got caught up in a live line (active fisher). He reeled it in and untangled it. The combat fishing affords no room for wildlife. It also attracts a high number of species (gulls and other water birds, seals, sea lions, crows, and other scavenging sea life) that are at high risk of getting snagged and/or entangled.
The amount of derelict gear and trash down there is astonishing. A lot of snagging going on, especially when people cast into the kelp beds. They will often just cut the line; which means the remaining line with hook and lead weights or lures is in the water. *Lead poisoning is a risk to eagles and loons* both of which frequent the area.
Overall, she says, not just people fishing, but everyone visiting Lincoln Park – including those drawn to see the newly installed troll – needs to help protect wildlife:
I plead to Fisher-people and park visitors to be more aware of their impact, pack out their trash, mind their feet on fragile beach ecosystems… Also, seems like a good time to bring this up. Folks have been stripping the sea spray roses of their rosehips, and taking large amounts of driftwood off of the beach. This is illegal, unethical and destructive to the ecosystem and the species that rely upon these habitats.
Meantime, to try to reduce the risk from fishing line, Kersti also says:
I’m having a derelict fishing gear container installed at Pt. Williams soon. It’s a WDFW container that I will have a maintenance contract with. Others will be going in along Alki. I also do a post-pink season snorkel to look for derelict fishing gear.
Kersti has dealt with other wildlife that suffered injuries from stray fishing line/gear:
That gull eventually lost one of the legs that got bound together as shown in the photo. P.S. If you see the heron, she says, “Even if it’s flighted and ‘seems’ OK, I’d like to visually assess it just in case.” (Kersti’s at kersti.e.muul [at] gmail.com)