Plea to anglers after swan is hooked in neck
ANGLERS are being urged to take more care with fishing tackle after a swan was rescued with a hook lodged in its neck.
Wildlife experts were called after concerned residents spotted the male swan on Radford Lake.
Such was local concern about the suffering for the animal, that a total of 22 calls were made to the RSPCA and several were made to Plymouth City Council as the landowner.
The swan formed part of a breeding pair that have been resident on the lake for around 10 years.
The RSPCA made more than 12 visits to Radford Lake attempting to remove the hook. Finally, on Wednesday September 24, a small boat was brought down from Exeter to perform the rescue which took four trained officers five hours to complete.
The tackle turned out to be a three-barbed hook, fortunately the swan was given the all clear and successfully released back on to the lake the same day.
Peter Ferris of the Royal Society for Protection of Cruelty to Animals led the rescue operation. He said: "We would urge all responsible anglers not to use barbed hooks as they cause damage to fish when removed, are a hazard to wildlife and are very difficult to untangle.
"Anglers must be vigilant when casting-off. This barb has caused suffering to the swan and has distressed local residents. The RSPCA has had to commit a great deal of resource to rescue this swan."
The RSPCA said the waters of Plymouth Sound and the Tamar Estuaries provide popular angling but are also extremely important for wildlife.
Kaja Curry, coastal planning coordinator for the Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum, added: "We would urge all fishermen to be responsible with tackle.
"Using the appropriate weight of line for the conditions, lighter hooks, being careful when casting and disposing of line appropriately are crucial to protecting the wildlife."