November 18, 2009

Washington Anglers Face Ban on Lead Tackle

I saw that Washington State is proposing a ban on all lead fishing tackle. I am all for protecting the environment, but this could be huge. If this passes, I'm sure other states will be quick to follow. This could affect more than just your sinkers.. I hardly use any lead weights anymore, but take a look at your tackle and see how much is made up of lead. Spinnerbaits, jigs, buzzbaits, crankbaits, etc. These all have some lead content. If you are a fisherman, please pay attention to this.

Here is the entire press release:

Without evidence that lead fishing tackle is posing a threat to loon populations, a proposed ban in Washington State is completely unwarranted!

Please send a letter to the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission demanding that they reject a proposed rule that would ban the use of lead fishing tackle. The proposal is based on the assumptions that lead fishing tackle poses a threat to loon populations and that many alternatives to lead are widely available for approximately the same price - neither of which is true. The deadline for comment is December 1, 2009.

No evidence exists that concludes that lead fishing tackle is threatening loon populations. A study of common loons by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found "no evidence of a declining population or a substantial change in distribution" in the state, and loon populations are stable or increasing throughout their range. Advocates for the proposed ban are using as evidence a finding that says over the past 13 years, nine loons are found to have died from ingesting lead fishing tackle.

Additionally, fishing tackle made from alternatives to lead can be much more expensive, in limited supply and not perform as well.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington is the fifteenth largest state in terms of annual sportfishing expenditures. Washington's 736,000 anglers spent $1.04 billion in 2006, generating $210 million in state and local tax revenue. Washington's anglers support 15,000 jobs with $513 million in salaries and wages. If Washington's anglers stopped fishing and did not spend their money elsewhere in state, the state's economy would shrink by $1.66 billion. In addition, non-residents comprise 13 percent of Washington's anglers who have a significant impact on the state's economy.

Please take action now to ensure that the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission rejects the proposed ban by sending your letter by December 1, 2009.

Media Contact

Gordon Robertson, vice president and Government Affairs lead, 703.519.9691, x237, or Mike Leonard, Policy Fellow, x230.
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