The Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee today heard a bill which would help clean up the environment at popular fishing sites across the state.

“The idea for this bill came from a constituent who experienced the importance of recycling fishing line and the positive overall impact it has on our environment,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah. “If the pilot program is successful, I hope that we will see a permanent program put in place across the state.”

Most of the fishing line used today is monofilament, single-strand, high-density nylon, because it is strong and flexible. If not recycled properly, monofilament may last in the environment for up to 600 years. Abandoned fishing lines and nets can get tangled or ingested by wildlife, which can be fatal.

The bill would direct the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to work with local volunteer groups to create a pilot program of fishing line recycling stations near established fishing areas, boat ramps and other relevant locations.

“This is a simple way to help protect the environment and our marine life at our favorite parks and recreational areas,” said Mullet.

By Dec. 1, 2016, the Department of Fish & Wildlife would report back to the Legislature to convey the coordination between other departments, agencies, collection point locations, data on collection, outreach and plans to establish a permanent monofilament recycling program and its estimated cost. The pilot program would expire Jan. 31, 2016.