Rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out to the River Ouse at Barcombe Mills yesterday (Tuesday October 3) after a swan became entangled in a fishing line.
The swan was attached to a length of braided fishing line which was wrapped around its body, neck, wings and legs, according to WRAS founder Trevor Weeks.
“The line became taut, the swan flipped round and started struggling in the water,” Mr Weeks said. “The braided line was so strong even a 10kg swan couldn’t break it.”
Rescuer Chris Riddington was able to get the swan onto the boat, wrapped in a pillow case for safety, while Mr Weeks swam out to help cut the line from vegetation at the water’s edge.
Mr Weeks said the rescuers decided to bring the swan back to the centre to assess the damage caused by the fishing line.
Mr Riddington said: “The line was wrapped all through the feathers. We must have removed at least 10 metres of it.”
The swan had not suffered any serious injuries and was returned to its partner on the river.
“This is completely inappropriate fishing line to be using,” said Mr Weeks. “If a 10kg swan can’t break the line, it clearly isn’t suitable for use on a river.”
WRAS were called out by the keeper of the river who has said they will speak to local fisherman about using the correct line and risks to wildlife.
“Most fishermen are very responsible and I’ve known them to swim out and remove caught line from bushes to protect wildlife, but sadly not everyone is so responsible.”