It’s a common sight on waterways around Australia, anglers cutting off a metre or two of line and dropping it on the ground, perhaps thinking "what’s the harm"?

Unfortunately, this simple act causes great harm. Each year thousands of birds and marine animals are killed or injured due to poorly discarded fishing line and tackle, with only a small proportion ever detected.  


Fishing line is very durable, and continues to threaten wildlife long after it has been discarded. Birds, particularly, suffer terribly from carelessly dropped line. As they move through fishing areas in search of food, line that is practically invisible can entangle around one or both legs, slowly tightening and causing the limb to swell. Eventually, the line will cut right through the bone and amputate the affected part. If this is an entire foot, for many birds it will mean a slow and sad death sentence.  Hooks and lures also wreck havoc if not disposed of thoughtfully. 

However, there is a way to reduce the carnage cause by poorly discarded fishing line - pick it up and put it in the bin.  Unfortunately, not enough people do that. This situation inspired a group of committed Gold Coast locals who wanted to help tackle (excuse the pun) the issue of fishing debris on the Gold Coast, and so 'The Tackle Bin Project’ was born.


Photos courtesy of  Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast

Project background


The project is based on the highly successful ‘Seal the Loop’ initiative founded by Zoos Victoria in 2010. Specially designed bins, made of 100% recycled materials, were installed at popular fishing locations to facilitate the appropriate disposal of unwanted fishing rubbish and to educate anglers and the wider community about the importance of correctly disposing of fishing waste. The units were designed to hold the line captive, unlike traditional bins, where scavengers such as crows can remove the line, causing it to find its way back into the environment. ​


The program was highly successful in raising awareness and reducing fishing waste, resulting in countless animals being saved from injury and death. It has since been expanded through Victoria and NSW. 

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Bringing the bins to Queensland

We decided we needed to get these bins to Queensland! What better place to start then the Gold Coast, where the local 'Spit' records the highest incidence of fishing related debris in Australia*

When we were designing the sticker for our bins, we wanted to differentiate them from the blue colour used down south, so we decided to use the official Queensland state colour - maroon! We also wanted a simple but distinctive message. Much of the value of these bins is in the messaging, and as people walk past they notice the bins and even a quick glance makes it clear what they are for, encouraging positive recycling behaviour from anglers and the general public. 

In March 2017, we installed thirteen bins in popular Gold Coast recreational fishing locations. The initiative was generously funded by the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, Healthy Waterways, and the Gold Coast Waterways Authority. We anticipated our bins might collect 2km of line in their first year. But Gold Coasters really embraced the bins and by November, we had collected 25km of fishing line and over 1500 fishing hooks! See our current locations and data.

Our bins are adopted out and serviced weekly by local volunteers, and the contents are recorded.

Since then we've had requests from other communities who were interested in setting up their own project, so decided to create this website where we could share information and resources. If you're interested in setting up a project in your community, why not join us?

* Data from Tangaroa Blue's Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database.

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