Cape Breton group calls for fishing rope recycling program

Organization finds a large amount of fishing gear and rope during beach cleanups in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Environmental association finds lots of plastic fishing rope during beach cleanups

Volunteers with the Cape Breton Environmental Association usually find a lot of fishing rope during their beach cleanups. (Cape Breton Environmental Association)

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The Cape Breton Environmental Association has turned its attention to cleaning up shorelines, and is calling for a recycling program to be developed in the area to deal with all the old fishing rope that washes up.

The group was formed to draw attention to illegal dumps, but founder Dylan Yates said he is happy with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality's increased fines and enforcement on that issue, so his group is expanding its focus.

Yates said he and a fellow volunteer recently found a large amount of fishing gear, including used rope, on several beaches in the municipality.

"These ropes pose threats to marine life," said Yates. "Another threat with all this debris is it contributes to ocean plastics.

"These ropes break down into microplastics, which fish eat and it bioaccumulates."

The Cape Breton Environmental Association says a recycling program is needed to deal with fishing rope. (Cape Breton Environmental Association/Facebook)

Yates said on one beach alone, they found 100 kilograms of rope half buried in the sand.

They pulled it out, but were unsure what to do with it, since there is no recycling program and he didn't want to take it to the dump.

After some research he found a person in St. Peters who uses the ropes to make crafts.

Dauphne Campbell sells her recycled products at craft markets and on her Facebook page Tuesday Stuff.

"The main products I make are mats, especially with the recycled rope because it uses so much." She said "There is like 300 feet of rope per mat."

Campbell said fishing rope is made of either polypropylene or polyurethane and it has to be replaced every three to five years.

"That's the type of rope that makes a really great outdoor mat," she said. "It's very durable."

She said local fishermen have been donating their used rope, dropping it off in her yard. "I couldn't even begin to guess how many thousand of feet I have there," she said. "I can't say no if someone has rope that they need to get rid of."

Yates said the Cape Breton Regional Municipality should put in place a better system.

"Let's come up with a recycling program to recycle these ropes and I think it would benefit everybody."  

With files from Mainstreet Cape Breton

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