The banning of all lead in fishing tackle because it is ingested by wildlife resulting in lead exposure has become a very controversial topic. This topic is taking on a life of its own. Some people believe that environment lobbyists have extremely blown it out of proportion, while others feel that the government has not taken it seriously enough. There are always two sides to the story, and then there are the facts. I myself am interested in keeping the environment a clean and healthy place for my four young children.
They love the outdoors and fishing as much as me, and I want them to grow up
and be able to continue that enjoyment with their own kids someday. So, I
decided to dive a little deeper into this lead ban and find out some of the
The Center for Biological Diversity is one group of many that want to
make it a federal law to stop all lead in tackle. Recently (EPA) has rejected
their petition. The entire report can be read at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/chemtest/pubs/TSCA_Lead_Sinker_Petition_Response_Signed_2012-02-14.pdf
After careful review, EPA has determined that, while the petition does
provide evidence of exposure and a risk to waterfowl in some areas of the United
States, it does not provide a basis for finding that the risk presented is an
unreasonable risk for which federal action under section 6(a) of TSCA is
necessary to adequately protect against such risks…”
At a local level I found that Waterfowl are picking up lead shot as grit
(in shallow marshes) to help with digestion, and unfortunately, some fowl have
ended up dying of lead poisoning. I would like to add that lead shot is not
exactly tackle, and it is extremely rare to see a bird eating a jig or
spinnerbait, at least in my experience.
Are our priorities a little skewed when it comes to such things? There
aren’t too many groups screaming about the fecal matter that these birds (I mean
Canadian geese or now, what seem to be called Long Island Geese) spill out
everywhere, which can be a health hazard to those, such as my kid’s, who fish
the shoreline. If my kids ingest the feces somehow (simply picking up a rock
from the ground, kids are just not aware). I would have to believe that it is
far worse than the same bird trying to eat the jig I lost 10 feet under the
With that said, I come to New Hampshire. Their interest for a lead ban is
mainly because they are trying to protect a species, the Loon. Here is a very
solid argument, and it is great they are protecting an endangered species. Get
the full details here regarding lead and fishing tackle deaths.
“In 2006…seven out of 16 dead adult loons studied during the breeding
season were known to have died from ingesting lead sinkers and jigs. This
represented a 1.3 percent loss to the state’s total loon population.”
According to the Loon Preservation Committee, they are averaging about 5
loon deaths per year and last year they found 12 lead poisoned loons.
read the whole article here http://www.sentinelsource.com/community/weeklies/lead-fishing-tackle-ban-idea-is-fueled-by-loon-deaths/article_71ed4179-f695-5969-9544-140510442a3a.html
no question that the loon is affected by lead fishing tackle and has resulted in
the unfortunate deaths of some of them. This ban will ultimately help preserve a
species that has been fighting to keep their existence.
I also thought who benefits from a ban of all lead? Are politicians
pushing this or companies? Who is tied to the manufacturer that is going to
mass produce all the new tackle? Because let’s face it being green and
environment friendly is not cheap. Fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry.
When push comes to shove, fishermen are going to purchase all new tackle.
Like a friend said “A ban would decimate small business owners that
depend on the fishing industry. Not to mention the loss of income from fishing
licenses that won't be bought.”
I found there are some legitimate cases, and probably a real cause for
the ban of lead fishing tackle, I respect that. And yet, at the same time I also
find that I am not entirely convinced that the banning of lead fishing tackle is
going to save the environment.
have to ask, are we as fisherman really that bad? Is there overwhelming proof
that the environmental changes and large number of bird deaths are caused by
solely using spinner baits and jig heads, or a is going to impact the whole
ecosystem? All fishermen need to continually take care of the environment,
cleaning up behind themselves and not purposely leaving tackle behind, because
that will help our environment overall.
However, the one question still lingers, to lead or not to lead?
By Nunzio Prato