Thursday, January 19, 2012

WA Legislature on the Verge of Fishing Tackle Ban

It's about the Loons 
Washington State, PETA and lake front homeowners associations are attempting to ban all lead (less than 1 oz.) in fishing tackle.
The Ban outlined in WA HB 2241, was read and introduced to the legislature on 1/10/12 and has been sent to the WA Environmental Committee for action. (Read the Bill Here)
The ban is the first of it's kind to specifically ban fishing tackle. All tackle with lead content of less than 1 oz. will be banned throughout Washington including all jigs, spinnerbaits, weights and any fishing tackle containing lead.

Big deal? Hell Yea!
Interestingly, the ban is only effects recreational fishing, commercial fishing is exempt from the ban.

Similar to bans on lead shot in shells, this ban is in response to the death of water fowl, specifically Common Lake Loons. The premise; loons ingest lead weights and jigs believing it to be food and die as a result. Truth be told, the ban is more a political one than a true environmental issue. In the past 13 years loon advocates (including PETA) can point to only 9 loon deaths as a result of ingesting lead fishing tackle. Studies show that lake front development, sewage treatment issues and pollution account for the majority of loon mortality in WA.

The adverse effect of the ban if passed on the fishing industry in WA is hard to imagine. Angler will be forced to purchase higher priced tungsten weighted lures and weights forcing many to either give up the sport or fish in violation of the new law. The new restrictions will likely cripple the recreational fishing industry in Washington.

Other concerns are the landmark effect the legislation will have on the fishing industry across the country. PETA and other environmental groups will likely use the ban as a precedent in future actions, making it easier to pass similar and even more restrictive bans throughout the US.

Anglers wanting to help fight unwarranted bans on lead are encouraged to follow this link Keep America Fishing and follow their direction for contacting your member of congress.

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