Lake Macquarie Tackles Recreational Fishing Waste

Lead Organisation

Lake Macquarie City Council

Case Study Background

Marine debris and plastics are recognised globally as a significant stressor in the marine environment. Not only are they reported to impact marine fauna, from plankton to large mammals like dolphins and whales, but they also pose a risk to human health, navigation, and food security.  One source of marine debris is incorrect disposal of material into the aquatic environment by recreational fishers. Recognising this issue, Emicro pitched a community engagement project to Lake Macquarie Council in June 2021 and were successful in receiving $4550 to assist the program roll out. 

The Vision

The community run initiative aims to educate and change fishing tackle disposal behaviour, encouraging recreational fishers to recycle fishing line to reduce impact on the marine environment. Additionally, the project included plans for the collected waste to be diverted from landfill and remanufactured to create furniture, parklets, artwork, and even jewellery.  

Benefits and Results

Fishing tackle bins were initially installed at Balcolyn boat ramp and Blacksmiths boat ramp. The bins were donated from another project run by the NSW Government Department of Primary Industries, enabling further circular economy practices to be embedded in this project. Since then, five additional bins have been installed at Blacksmiths foreshore, Speers Point jetty, Swansea boat ramp, Swansea bridge, and Eraring outlet. The bins are serviced every two weeks and often contain almost 10kg of waste materials. The collected fishing line waste is used by Newcastle Street Furniture in their concrete moulds, minimising damage to marine life and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.