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Seal the Loop
How Seal the Loop bins are saving our precious marine wildlife:
Wildlife in our marine and aqautic environments are impacted through dangers such as entanglement caused by discarded fishing line and other materials. Seal the Loop aims to prevent this material entering the environment at all, by installing brightly coloured bins in popular fishing spots for anglers to dispose their waste in. Made from recycled plastics, they also contain messaging to help promote responsible disposal of fishing materials and advice if someone sees injured wildlife.
Coastcare Victoria is the official partner for Seal the Loop. As an organisation with a network of over 330 coastal volunteer groups, they will play a key role in promoting and expanding the campaign into new locations and lead an annual assessment of the bin collections to measure the amount of fishing waste collected.
Currently more than 260 Seal the Loop bins are found along Victoria's coast and waterways, as indicated on the map below. You can ask your local council or community group to install a Seal the Loop fishing line bin and help save your local marine life from entanglements.
View Seal the Loop - Fishing Line Bin Locations in a larger map
Why is Zoos Victoria running Seal the Loop?
- As a zoo-based conservation organisation we are committed to wildlife conservation.
- Thousands of marine birds, mammals, reptiles and fish are killed or injured each year due to poorly discarded fishing line. Zoos Victoria provides veterinary care for many wildlife entanglement victims each year.
- Plastics are the most common litter item found in Australia. Seal the Loop helps to reduce such waste as Seal the Loop bins are made from recycled plastic.
- This initiative is the first of its kind in Victoria and environmental and recreational angling groups alike have expressed a need for such an initiative for the sake of marine wildlife and the health of recreational fishing.
Why is Coastcare Victoria a partner for the program?
As an organisation committed to coastal conservation, Coastcare Victoria are a perfect partner for Seal the Loop. With a network of community groups and a focus on engaging the community in coastal conservation programs, they are providing crucial communication and ongoing support for groups monitoring the fishing line bins.
How does it work?
Specially designed Seal the Loop bins are made locally using recycled plastic. These bins are placed at ports and piers around Victoria’s coastline and are monitored by councils, community groups or volunteers. The bins are designed and labelled to help facilitate the responsible disposal of fishing waste by recreational anglers.
What do you hope to achieve?
The Seal the Loop initiative aims to:
- reduce marine wildlife entanglement rates.
- raise awareness of the threats that plastics pose to marine wildlife
How/where are the bins made?
The bin design is completely original and has been developed by a Melbourne Industrial Designer, John Vanzella. They are made from sheets of recycled plastic, with each bin hand-built in Melbourne ready for installation on a port or pier near you.
What happens to the fishing line after being collected from the bins?
The fishing line is currently included within general waste disposal techniques, and where possible some fishing groups are reusing higher quality line. The line is cut into shorter pieces before entering general waste so as not to cause damage to wildlife when in landfill.
Won’t the bins just be used for general waste and fill up?
Zoos Victoria conducted a trial of 20 bins around the Victorian coastline in early 2011. Over five months these bins were monitored and the contents carefully recorded. All bins have recorded some proportion of other waste, however fishing waste made up around 60% of the contents, and no bin overfilled. Bins are regularly maintained and monitored by local community or council groups.
Has anything been done like this in Australia before?
Yes. This program is based on a similar program which has been rolled out by OceanWatch Australia on coast and inland waterways around New South Wales. This program proved to be successful after a trial period. Seal the Loop is the first project of this kind in Victoria.
What is the cost to a council or organisation for taking on a bin?
The bins are offered completely free of charge to any organisation, council or group who agree to install and ensure they are properly managed. Organisation of the emptying of the bins is the responsibility of individual councils or organisations and is generally done by local volunteer groups, individuals or council contractors.
How do people hear about the Seal the Loop?
The bins are educational tools in themselves. They include text which shares the key message with anglers and others. We also have a range of posters and stickers available that groups involved and other interested parties can use to help spread the message.
Melbourne Zoo has interpretive static displays for visitors to learn about the program. Key messages onsite at the zoo involve the importance of recycling plastics as well as disposing of fishing waste thoughtfully when at the coast.
Coastcare Victoria also promote Seal the Loop at their events and programs.
- Fishing line entanglements result in the death of an estimated 1,400 seals every year in Australia.
- An estimated 50km of fishing line has been collected in Seal the Loop bins since Nov 2010.
- Over 260 bins are installed across Victorian beaches and waterways.
- More than 75 government and community groups are involved in Seal the Loop across Victoria.
- A 2013 study of coast users found that 56% of those who come across a Seal the Loop bin changed their waste disposal behaviours as a result.
- In the 2017-18 year, The AGL Marine Response Unit have recieved over 270 calls and completed more than 100 field interventions to injured wildlife.
- Nearly 30 marine animals including seabirds, turtles, whales, dolphins and sharks are listed by the Australian Government as being 'at risk' due to the key threatening process of injury and fatality caused by ingestion of, or entanglement in, harmful marine debris.
- Three seal species breed in Australia (Australian Sea Lions, Australian Fur Seals and New Zealand Fur Seals), and all three have entanglement rates that are among the highest reported for any species of seal in the world.