This area does not yet contain any content.
Get Updates! and Search
No RSS feeds have been linked to this section.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

Entries in lead (18)

Sunday
Dec222013

Anglers Win Access Battle in Australia

Good news for anglers everywhere: Our brothers and sisters in Australia won a huge victory for public access.

And there’s an important message here for U.S. fishermen: Get involved in the political process. Aussie anglers wouldn’t have won if they had just gone fishing instead of fighting back.

Here’s an excerpt from the report in Fishing World, and please note the mention of Pew:

“We are pleased the Coalition Government has listened to Australia’s recreational fishers and are conducting a scientific review of the proposal, which will give a sensible balance for Australia’s unique marine environment,” said Allan Hansard of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation.

“It was clear that the decisions to ‘lock’ recreational fishers out of vast areas of our seas by the previous government was not scientifically based and was done to meet a political agenda.”

The Government’s marine parks announcement marks an historic win by the recreational fishing sector against powerful international environment groups, including the US-based Pew organisation which spent millions of dollars in its failed attempt to ban fishing across huge swathes of Australian territorial waters.

Meanwhile, here’s things are not going so well in the United States. President Obama’s National Ocean Council is moving ahead with plants to “zone” uses of our oceans, telling us where we can and cannot fish. And in Maine, officials are considering a proposal by anti-fishing advocates who want to ban plastic baits.

Down in Georgia, a fishing editor said this:

Fishing is a way of life for millions of Americans. It’s a pastime all can enjoy, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry through the sale of boats and motors, fishing tackle and even live bait.

The state of Maine, though, seems hell-bent on becoming the nation’s first anti-fishing state, according to a news release from Keep America Fishing.

Not long ago, the state legislature voted to impose restrictions and downright bans on the use of lead-headed jigs and lead sinkers, claiming the loon population was being adversely affected by ingesting that tackle while diving for bait fish.

Earlier this year, Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife called for a study to determine the effects of soft plastic lures on fish. Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department is using online research, ice angling reports and litter assessments to determine if there are adverse effects on fish . . . 

Legislation introduced during early 2013 legislative sessions called for the outright ban of soft plastic lures.

The state study also includes the impact of hooks! What a waste of time! If soft baits are banned, what’s next?

I’m glad I live where I live!

Wednesday
Oct162013

A Look at Lead: Miracle Metal or Environmental Evil?

Is lead a miracle metal or an environmental evil?

It is neither. It is a naturally occurring element that anglers have used to make sinkers for thousands of years.

Today, it’s also the preferred material for jigheads and as ballast in hard lures and spinnerbaits. The sinker business alone is worth $100 million annually and jigheads $75 million, according to the American Sportfishing Institute.

But because of its toxic nature in some applications, such as paint and plumbing, lead also is a material demonized with hyperbole and distortion of facts by some environmentalists who want to ban its use by fishermen.

Ground zero for this assault is New England, where defenders of the loon claim that lead weights threaten survival of the iconic bird. Loons, they assert, ingest sinkers and then die of lead poisoning.

This does happen to a few birds annually. But studies and statistics don’t support their argument that populations are in any way threatened. Degradation of shoreline habitat for these reclusive birds poses a far greater danger.

Additionally, loons are ingesting tiny pieces of lead, not bullet weights or jigheads, which also are targeted in this emotion-driven propaganda effort in which misinformation is rampant.

Photo by Woody Hagge at www.learner.org

“The public hears about this anti-lead campaign and you’d be amazed at the phone calls I get,” said Gordon Robertson, ASA vice president.

“I get college students who think lead is like an aspirin. You drop it in the water, it dissolves, and the water becomes toxic.”

“We came by lead honestly,” he continued. “It’s cheap, easy to work with, and ubiquitous. And we don’t make lead, we move it around. But mistaken ideas like that make discussion difficult.”

In fact, lead does not dissolve in water. Yes, visualizing the accumulation of weights at the bottom of a lake or river is not aesthetically appealing, but that’s not the same as posing an environmental hazard. The soft, heavy metal is harmful only when ingested or inhaled (as dust from lead-based paint, for example).

“Lead is not a population problem for loons or any other bird,” Robertson said. “Yes, it kills a few individuals, but we manage for populations. Legislators don’t understand the management process. They don’t understand the realities.

“That’s why regulations about lead should come from fish and wildlife agencies, not legislatures. And bans should occur only where there are documented problems. Legislatures are much more likely to go for statewide bans.”

And while lead is not the environmental evil that its detractors claim it to be, it is more than a preferred material for sinkers and other fishing tackle; it is essential. Yes, some alternatives --- tungsten, steel, brass, tin, bismuth --- exist. But as with green energy options, much research will be necessary before they are commercially viable on a large scale.

“I like tungsten weights,” said Stephen Headrick, who makes Punisher jigs. “But I tried to go with tungsten (for jigheads) and it was too expensive. Also, most anything to do with tungsten is made in China. You buy tungsten and you are sending American jobs overseas.

“My jigheads are made in the U.S.”

T.J. Stallings of TTI-Blakemore echoed Headrick’s appraisal. “We looked at tungsten, but it’s cost prohibitive,” he said, adding that the higher melting points of tungsten, steel, and glass can destroy the temper of a hook.

“We’re working on a non-lead option so we will stop losing business in New England,” he added. “But fishermen are conservationists by default. The problem with lead is that we’re living in the age of misinformation and liars. That’s why we have this fear of lead.”

Alternatives for weights, meanwhile, are more practical than they are for jigheads, and that’s why Bullet Weights and other companies offer them. Still, tungsten, brass, steel, and tin make up only a fraction of the market.

“With tungsten, you are paying a higher price for performance, and it’s still only a small portion of our business,” said Joe Crumrine, president of the company. “Our Ultra Steel continues to grow in popularity, but we still sell more lead than anything.”

That includes split shot, the largest segment of the sinker market, but tin is making inroads, Crumrine said.

“No other material is soft enough,” he explained. “It costs twice as much as lead, but we sell a lot of it, even in areas where there are no lead bans.”

What’s most important, Robertson said, is that anglers themselves are able to choose whether they want to use lead or tin or tungsten. Among fishing advocates, the greatest fear is that lead bans will discourage participation, and that will mean the loss of critical revenue for state fish and wildlife agencies. That’s because they are funded primarily by anglers through license fees and excise taxes on fishing tackle, including lead sinkers.

“The more barriers that are put up, the more it hurts the industry and the resource,” he said. “And we’re not making lead. We’re simply using what exists.”

 

What’s the Alternative?

 As someone not afraid to call himself an environmental steward as well as an angler, Teeg Stouffer understands the practicality of lead use in the fishing industry.

“I don’t think that lead is the worst thing facing our waters and I don’t think we should ban it,” said the executive director of Recycled Fish, a conservation organization.

But he would like to see the industry move more aggressively toward development of  practical alternatives.

“We know that lead is a toxic substance, and nobody goes fishing with the intention to spread a toxic substance,” he said.

“If we have non-toxic alternatives available, why not use them? We don’t advocate for bans, but we do advocate for angler education. We believe that people want to do the right thing when they know what the right thing is, and most people don’t have information about alternatives. We want to help provide that information.”

Stouffer added that he’s caught hundreds of fish on lead-free jigheads, most of them made of tin-bismuth. He also owns some made of tungsten, which he admits are costly, and even some glass ones. “They’re really cool, but not super practical,” he said.

With the lead-free jigheads, he explained, “I have not experienced any issues with longevity or fishability, nor have I heard those objections from anyone else who is using lead-free products.”

What Stouffer wants to see is a consumer-driven switch from lead to alternatives.

“Would fishing tackle manufacturers be willing to spool up production to make a non-toxic  product to satisfy this market?” he asked. “Many manufacturers, both small and large, already are.”

(A variation of this article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Friday
May242013

Angry Guide Calls Out N.H. Trout Unlimited for Supporting Lead Ban

I am not the only one enraged by the New Hampshire’s legislature decision to ban lead jigheads and sinkers of 1 ounce or less. (See post below this one.) Angling advocates nationwide are shaking their heads in disbelief at the state’s disregard for science and common sense.

And they are not going to go away and quietly accept the state’s lead ban--- or forget those who supported the ban.

Here’s a letter to Trout Unlimited from Brian Emerson, a licensed fishing guide in New Hampshire:

As a lifetime angler and licensed guide for all species of fish in New Hampshire, as well as a former supporter and donor to NHTU, I have to tell you that I am totally disgusted with Trout Unlimited "selling-out" the fishing fraternity by supporting SB89. Eventually I'm sure it will come out as to what TU received in exchange for their support of this unfounded and unnecessary ban on bass fishing tackle. Perhaps your goal was to drive a wedge between trout and bass fisherman. If so, you don't begin to know how you have succeeded.

This bill was not endorsed by the NH F&G Commission for many good reasons. Why you would elect to support a bill contrary to their wishes certainly escapes me.

I have read your letter of support that was sent to the legislative committee and it sickens me to see that you would suggest that the NH loons are threatened (FACT: They most definitely are not!!!!) And the notion that the targeted bass jigs are having a significant negative impact on the loon population is obviously the statement of an uneducated person. Trout tackle continues to be the number one cause of lead toxicosis in loons, years after it has been banned.

Like I said, I fish for all species of fish and I expect that TU will feel the backlash from this to an extent they couldn't have imagined. You now have hundreds, and most likely thousands, of irate fishermen that will be on a mission to destroy TU in this state. Your only hope for salvation will be to support the repeal of SB89.

I can assure you the bass community will be submitting a bill to do just that in the future. I'm sure that lead-weighted flies, flies with lead eyes, lead-core line and any other trout tackle containing lead will be attacked as well (most likely by the very group that you sided with on this bill!).

I am ashamed, as a trout fisherman, to think that anglers placed their trust in you to oversee their interests only to be sold down the river. I will do everything in my power to let as many sportsmen as possible know what you have done and urge them to no longer support your organization.

If you want to send your own letter to the New Hampshire Trout Unlimited, here’s the address: nhtroutunlimited@gmail.com

Thursday
Apr112013

Maine Loon-atics Join New Hampshire in Attempt to Ban Lead Fishing Tackle

Maine legislators seem to have postponed their attempt to ban plastic baits until next year. But some have decided to join their “loon-atic” friends in New Hampshire in an attempt to ban lead weights and jigs of one ounce or less.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) reports that SB 268 was heard today in the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries.

Introduced by Senator Anne Haskell, SB 268 would make it illegal to sell or use lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less, and measuring 2.5 inches or less in length.

“The primary concern surrounding the use of lead sinkers and jigs is the potential effects on waterfowl, like the loon, that ingest whole pebbles to aid in the digestion of their food,” CSF says.

“Although there have been documented individual loon deaths linked directly to lead fishing sinkers, there has been no documented evidence that lead fishing sinkers, of any size, have a detrimental impact on local or regional loon populations. In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, loon populations are either stable or are increasing across the nation.

“Imposing additional restrictions on the use of lead sinkers in Maine is not biologically justified, would place an undue economic burden on the anglers who fish Maine's waters, and would supersede the long-standing authority of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife - the recognized fish and wildlife experts for the state of Maine - to manage the state's fish and wildlife resources.” 

Monday
Apr012013

Exotic Species Are Killing Loons --- Not Lead

As preservationists --- many with an anti-fishing agenda --- continue to press for bans on lead fishing tackle to protect loons, read the following story to see what is really killing the birds. This is a real danger, not one manufactured to support an ideology, with little basis in science and fact.

And it provides a tragic example of how introductions of exotics can have unforeseen consequences.

Chain of Environmental Consequences Slaughtering Birds