Anti-fishing groups once again are attacking recreational angling by trying to force a ban on lead fishing tackle.
On Nov. 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was again petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and two other groups, requesting that the agency regulate the manufacture and sale of lead fishing tackle of certain sizes and uses under the toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). If approved, such regulation could result in a ban of lead sinkers, jigs, and other popular types of fishing equipment.
In that skirmish, more than 43,000 anglers sent their objections to EPA through Keep America Fishing.
EPA dismissed a similar petition in November 2010. The agency indicated that the “petitioners have not demonstrated that the requested rule is necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by the TSCA.”
Gordon Robertson of the American Sportfishing Association says this:
“The sportfishing community is once again asking the EPA to rule on the side of scientific fish and wildlife population management and dismiss this unwarranted petition.
“Such regulations will have a significant, negative impact on recreational anglers and the sportfishing industry, yet the petitioners lack credible science to back such a far-reaching request. They claim lead is threatening loons across the nation, but several studies, including one by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have shown that loon populations are either stable or increasing throughout most of their range.”
Robertson adds, "This further demonstrates the need for a legislative solution to this growing threat to recreational fishing. In response, the co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus have introduced the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act, which would prevent an overreaching ban of lead fishing tackle.
“With anti-fishing organizations trying to over-regulate fishing using whatever means they can, legislation is needed to protect traditional fishing tackle and ammunition from unjustified bans that will harm the economy and reduce participation in outdoor activities."
ASA will soon provide suggested comments at Keep America Fishing.
Two of the three petitioners in this second petition also are engaged in a lawsuit against EPA’s dismissal of the original petition to ban lead fishing tackle.
“The petitioners are taking advantage of our federal government, ignoring the decision that the EPA made just a year ago and working around the ongoing litigation that they filed shortly after that decision,” says Robertson.
“This is a gaming of the system and ASA urges the EPA to deny the most recent petition and asks all anglers to voice their support for the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act.”
Activist Angler position: No scientific evidence exists to support a ban on lead fishing tackle, and I believe that anti-fishing groups use this issue to try to force us off the water. But I would like to see industry move away from lead in fishing tackle. I use tungsten almost exclusively and find it far superior to lead for a number of reasons. Yes, it is a little more expensive.