A WILDLIFE charity is calling on fishermen to be more careful with equipment after reports of birds caught with fishing hooks.
West Sussex Wildlife Protection have dealt with five reports of birds being harmed by fishing hooks and line in the last month.
These reports have included a herring gull being trapped in a garden in Glynde Crescent, Felpham, because an angler’s hook had buried itself into the bird’s wing.
The gull’s injuries are now being treated at Alphapet Veterinary Clinic in West Meads, Bognor.
The harrier had to be euthanised because of the extent of its injuries as its wing ligament was detached.
Two other reports of herring gulls in distress have also been made. One in Chichester, and the other in Littlehampton that had a fishing line around their legs, although, have been uncatchable.
A swan from Lakeside Holiday Park was rescued and treated for a severe wing injury due to a fishing line.
Simon Wild, a spokesman for the rescue group, said: “This is the worst year we have had: too many anglers are snaring their hooks and cutting the line next to their rod, and it is inflicting great harm on birds.
Water birds are being injured by fishing equipment
“The other thing we are concerned about is this latest trend of crabbing where children hook up meat and bacon on a line thrown down into the sea.
“Last year, we had many gulls caught with these hooks in their mouths where children had just discarded them.
“We are asking people to take their fishing equipment home, not leave it on the beach, and to just think of the consequences.”
West Sussex Wildlife Protection has put out some information for people if they happen to find an injured bird.
They advise not to cut off the line without the bird being thoroughly checked over at a vet first.
If a person finds a bird trapped in fishing line, try to cut it free and contain the bird.
The reasoning behind this is that the bird could have ingested the hook or barb, and cutting the line will leave the implement in their throat or stomach.
This could mean the bird could suffer more internal injuries and starve to death as they won’t be able to eat.
Then call a local wildlife rescue such as Rogers Wildlife Rescue, Peacehaven 01273 308268 or East Sussex Wildlife Rescue 01825 873003, or in Worthing WADARS Animal Rescue 01903 247111.