Reel it in

Published on:
Friday, 20 October, 2023

The river clean up project is going from strength to strength, and is being expanded to coastal locations across the state.

It was in 2012 when wildlife officers spotted 3-year old river dolphin calf Gizmo entangled in fishing line and other river debris, and in a fair bit of strife.  While the efforts of DBCA officers and the WA
Water Police eventually cut Gizmo free, the Reel it in project was born. 

Reel it in has partnered up with 14 riverfront local governments since 2013, with 74 dedicated fishing line bins at popular jetties, fishing platforms, traffic bridges and along the Swan and Canning foreshores.

The campaign has been unbelievably successful, removing a staggering 190km of fishing line, 22,000 hooks & sinkers, 15,000 bait bags, and thousands of items of general rubbish from Perth waterways.

With Councils providing some funding, and local communities providing volunteers, Parks and Wildlife Service has expanded the Reel it in campaign to help reduce the impact of discarded fishing line and tackle on dolphins, water birds and other animals.

Jason Menzies the Community and Volunteers Manager at DBCA says it has been a whole of community effort:

“We do have partnerships with Recfishwest, OzFish, Native Animal Rescue, WA Seabird Rescue, Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Marine and the Wildcare Helpline program, but we really appreciate the Councils supporting us.”

“Reel it in directly improves the health of our waterways and ocean environments and we are already seeing great results.”

Sue Harper has been a committed volunteer since 2013, she says the bins and signs not only make it convenient for users to dispose of their waste, but also help to raise awareness of our river wildlife and health.

“I’ve seen firsthand the devastating effects of fishing line entanglements on our dolphins and birdlife - sadly, in some instances leading to death or severe injury - all so preventable!

“Whilst I’m on the jetty, it’s always great to chat with people about their observations on the river and exchange useful information.”

“Engaging the support of a local coffee van business to provide a rubbish collection point also adds traction to the community awareness of the river.” 

Reel it in is now actively expanding to tackle fishing waste at popular coastal fishing locations, with bins installed in Broome, Shark Bay, Geraldton, Lancelin, Two Rocks, Mindarie, Hillarys, Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton and Albany. As well as at the North and South moles, Rottnest Island, Shoalwater Marine Park and Cockburn Sound.

Find out more about the Reel it in program visit

Read more in the September/October 2023 Edition of Western Councillor. 

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