West Sussex Wildlife Protection releases statement as number of waterbirds injured by fishermen reaches record high.

West Sussex Wildlife Protection has spoken out after dealing with five reports of birds caught with fishing hooks in the last month alone.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:52 pm

“This is the worst year we’ve had. Too many anglers are snaring their hooks and cutting the line next to their rod, and it is inflicting great harm on birds,” so said Simon Wild, a spokesperson for West Sussex Wildlife Protection after the organisation dealt with five instances of water birds caught with fishing hooks in this month alone.

The latest incident took place on July 28 and saw a herring gull trapped in a garden by an angler’s hook buried in its wing at an address at Glynde Crescent, Felpham.

The gull is now being treated at the Alphapet veterinary clinic in West Meads, Bognor Regis.

One of the gulls is being treated at the Alphapets veterinary centre in Bognor Regis

Other incidents involve a rare Marsh Harrier which was found hanging from a tree by a hook and line near lakes in Shopwyke Chichester. Although rescued, it later had to be euthanized because its ligament was detached

Two other herring gulls, one in Chichester, the other in Littlehampton, have also been spotted with fishing line around their legs, but the wildlife organisation has so far been unable to catch and treat them.

Staff at West Sussex Wildlife Protection have also rescued and treated a swan from the Lakeside Holiday Park, which was discovered with fishing line around its wing.

Mr Wild went onto say that crabbing is another concerning trend with the potential to harm water birds.

“Children hook up meat and bacon and throw it out into the sea,” he said. “Last year, we had a number of gulls caught with these hooks in their mouths where children had just discarded them. We are asking people to take their fishing equipment home, not leave it on the beach, and to just think of the consequences.”