NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Fishermen in Prospect Park are catching more than fish in their lines. Last week, a great horned owl died after getting trapped for days in fishing line left in a meadow of the park in Brooklyn.
Robert Bate of New York City Audubon said that that the fishermen's neglect proposes a real threat to the park's wildlife.
"When the fishermen get their line caught in a tree, they generally just cut it and leave it there. Then birds, who use the tree for roosting or feeding, get their legs tangled in the line and then they're trapped," Bate said. "They have no way to get the line off their feet."
This latest incident follows others that have occurred when people who fish leave wires, hooks, and other fishing supplies in and around the waters of the park. Although regulations are in place, Bate said they are not strictly enforced.
"You're not supposed to use barbed hooks—there's not much compliance with that," Bate said. "Fishing is supposed to be catch and release. You're supposed to have licenses. I've never seen anybody doing enforcement in the park."
The New York City Parks Department released a statement reminding New Yorkers to fish responsibly.
"While catch and release fishing is permitted in Prospect Park, park-goers are asked to use barbless hooks and never leave fishing line or hooks behind after fishing," the Parks Department said. "Failure to remove fishing line fragments and hooks from Parks' land and waters is a violation of our rules, and puts animals in danger. If you see an injured animal, the best thing to do is leave the animal where it is and call 311."
A dozen line and tackle receptacles have been installed around the lake for fishermen to dispose of their supplies. But according to Bate, stationed urban park rangers would be more helpful.
"They could talk to these guys, get to know them. The fishermen will know now that there is somebody who's watching. That would do an enormous amount."