At first glance, it’s just looks like plain old fishing line — but the strong filament is actually a technological innovation made of special plastic that dissolves into carbon dioxide and water through the work of microorganisms in water.
“The time it takes depends on water temperature and other conditions, but it usually dissolves completely in five years,” said Tokuo Ichikawa, who has been in charge of developing the product at Globeride, a fishing-gear company based in Tokyo.
The impetus for developing an environment-friendly fishing line came five years ago when Ichikawa, 53, and his colleagues took part in recovering discarded fishing line and sinkers underwater at Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture. A small truck full of garbage, including fishing gear, is collected at the lake every day.
“Garbage you find on the ground should be removed out of common decency, but garbage left underwater should be taken away by companies,” Ichikawa said.
Making stout fishing line from a fragile, naturally dissoluble material was challenging. Ichikawa solved the problem by using a stretchable material that was about 80 percent as strong as a regular nylon fishing line.
In July, Globeride started selling a hook rig using the textile. Even though it was 10 percent more expensive, the product sold out quickly, and it had to scramble to produce enough to meet the demand.
In 2002, the firm developed a sinker made of tungsten instead of lead, which is toxic. A tungsten sinker has less of an adverse impact on the environment, but products made of this rare metal cost 10 times more than off-the-shelf sinkers.
Globeride’s president deemed it too expensive to sell, but employees noticed the relatively small but high-density tungsten product could be cast further than the lead sinker. The tungsten sinker was released under the advertising slogan, “Only you can hit the unreachable spot” and was named “Top Gun.” Sales took off.
“Products won’t sell just because they’re ‘environmentally friendly.’ We have to sell things without lowering their quality. If we can do that, an awareness of biodegradable material will spread,” Ichikawa said.
In the future, Ichikawa said he and his colleagues will develop fishing line using natural materials such as rice and corn.
Source: Mercury News (Green Living)
Unfortunately there are too many irresponsible fishermen (and fisher-women) who leave tangled fishing line and empty bait containers in the environment. Dissolving fishing line would be useful when fishing line is caught-up in inaccessible (and irretrievable) places but it could still pose a hazard to wildlife as it takes a relatively long time to dissolve. Fishing sustainably means doing everything in your power to reduce fishing-related littering, treating fish humanely and only taking fish that you need. This will ensure that this pleasurable pastime will remain acceptable to everyone and that there will be fish for future generations.
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