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Environmental and wildlife groups call for tougher environmental laws

WATCH ABOVE: The Atlantic Wildlife Institute says they see many examples of animals injured by discarded fishing line and hooks every year. Global’s Brion Robinson reports.

COOKVILLE, N.B. – The executive director of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute is calling on people to be more responsible about where they leave their trash.

Barry Rothfuss says the Institute gets dozens of calls every year related to animals entangled in fishing lines and netting.

“We get quite a few of them,” he said. “It’s not just birds we get mammals in here as well. From the bird perspective eagles, osprey, cormorants, gannets and any of the diving birds like seagulls.”

Last week, people brought in a young osprey entangled in fishing line, sinkers and hooks.

The raptor was found struggling along a riverbank near Shediac.

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“The osprey was rather tethered and encompassed in fishing line,” he said. “You could see the sinkers hanging off and the line wrapped around at least one wing.”

Fortunately, the raptor’s injuries weren’t life-threatening. It was released back into the wild last week.

But environmental awareness groups say cases like this renew calls for stronger fines for offenders.

Paul Belliveau is the president of the board of directors for the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper.

“It’s a serious issue simply for the fact that it endangers wildlife,” he said.

The group works to protect and maintain the health of the Petitcodiac and Memramcook Rivers. He says the province needs stronger environmental laws to prevent cases like this from happening.

“What we’re hoping for eventually is that environmental laws will be a little tougher and penalties for violators would be greater,” he said.

 

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