August 31, 2021

For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – While families are deciding how to spend their Labor Day weekend, a new PETA video released today offers a stark warning about fishing—and how it can hurt more animals than many people realize. The video follows PETA fieldworkers as they respond to a call about a great blue heron hanging on a fishing line from a tree alongside the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. While they were able to paddle to the scene and free the heron, the badly injured bird died on the way to emergency veterinary care—and countless other animals endure similar fates as a result of discarded fishing tackle.

Photos are available here.

“This heron’s story shows how abandoned—or snagged and not retrieved—fishing litter can be a death sentence for unintended victims, like water birds and turtles,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges fishers to take up a new hobby and asks people to help make waterways safe for wildlife by collecting discarded hooks and line whenever they see them.”

In addition to hooking gentle animals through their sensitive mouths, watching them slowly suffocate, and sometimes even gutting them while they’re still alive, anglers inflict debilitating injuries on millions of animals who swallow fishhooks or become entangled in fishing line. Some 640,000 tons of fishing “ghost gear” enter the world’s oceans every year.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.