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Entries in lead ban (28)

Wednesday
Mar212018

What We Learned From The LMBV Scare

Bass infected with LMBV look normal, until the virus turns lethal.

Remember Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV)? If you’ve been a bass angler for more than five years, you certainly do.

Starting in 1995 and for about a decade, it killed fish, especially larger bass, and damaged local economies dependent on recreational fishing. It prompted concern --- and even fear --- among millions that we might be seeing the demise of North America’s No. 1 sport fish.

But that isn’t what happened. Instead, we discovered that the virus wasn’t going to have catastrophic consequences, although it likely would remain an enduring element in ecosystems, causing sporadic fish kills.

Now, here’s the rest of the story, the part that you don’t know about:

Widespread access and angling restrictions almost certainly would have been imposed in many states across the country had B.A.S.S. not stepped in to stem the panic in 2000.

That’s when Conservation Director Bruce Shupp initiated a series of annual workshops on LMBV. At these professionally facilitated events, state, federal, and university scientists and fisheries biologists shared evolving news and research regarding the virus. That invaluable information then was provided to fisheries agencies across the country.

“The situation easily could have gotten out of control,” remembers Shupp. “Overreactions were a real possibility, and that would have included stopping tournaments (which came close to happening in at least one state).”

But because of this cooperative process, anglers and resource managers more quickly learned about both the severity and the limitations of the virus, as well as how it could be spread and what seemed to trigger it from a dormant virus into a killer disease.

“This was the boldest and best thing that we ever did,” Shupp adds. “We let the states know what was going on so that they wouldn’t overreact, and we helped get this thing under control until it dissipated.

“This was a great example of how to deal publically with a major resource issue.”

Shupp is not alone in his assessment of the workshops.

“This was one of the best collaborative processes ever,” says Dave Terre, chief of management and research for Inland Fisheries at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

In fact, Terre and three others who attended those events later wrote a paper entitled, “Dealing with largemouth Bass Virus: Benefits of Multi-sector Collaboration.”

“Possibly the greatest benefit was the capability to quickly as­semble all available information, provide instantaneous peer re­view, and develop and disseminate consistent, scientifically valid outreach tools (e.g., fact sheets, news releases),” they wrote. “Based on declining public concern and fewer sensationalized media releases, these tools apparently were effective. The reality that LMBV was not just a local problem and was being addressed by a regional team also probably helped modulate public concerns.”

This prime example of what can be accomplished through cooperation stands in stark contrast to those who prefer conflict and lawsuits as their tactics for achieving a goal. That’s because making a political statement and/or imposing an ideology often is more important to these groups that protecting and/or improving the resource.

Those who want to ban lead fishing tackle profess to care about loons and other waterfowl. Really, they want to stop you from fishing. Why else would they continue to push for the bans when no evidence exists that lead tackle substantially harms wildlife?

Those who want to destroy Florida’s Rodman Reservoir insist that they care about nature and want to restore habitat for fish and wildlife. In reality, Rodman is as rich and diverse as any natural system, besides being a world-class fishery. Its detractors just want it out because it’s “manmade.”

Those in the Northwest who continue to bash bass because of the demise of salmon and trout --- when dams and habitat loss have done the damage --- will not accept the reality of altered ecosystems.

“There are some who are dead set against sensible management of any exotic species, no matter how useful they are in providing recreation, funding for conservation agencies, or recruiting young anglers,” says Jim Martin, director of the Berkley Conservation Institute.

“This issue of management of exotics is a place where sensible conversation about the bigger picture has usually led to a sensible compromise for good management of recreation and native species as well.”

Is cooperation and compromise always better than conflict and confrontation? I’m not saying that. In fact, I believe compromise on access issues can be catastrophic for the future of recreational fishing.

But when you really care about the well being of a resource, the best way to deal with problems related to it is cooperatively. Those who don’t come to the table are more concerned with imposition of their ideology than they are with doing what’s best for the resource.

Wednesday
Feb212018

Latest Anti-Fishing Lunacy In California

California has seen the number of licensed anglers fall by half since 1984, from more than 2 million to barely 1 million who purchase annual licenses.

One big reason is declining opportunities — more waters closed to fishing in both the ocean and freshwater, fewer trout raised in state hatcheries and planted, and native species like steelhead and salmon that are in a tailspin.

Another big reason is expense. The cost of licenses and stamps rises every year, even though usually the fishing is worse. A person who fishes in both fresh and salt water can spend more than $100 annually on licenses, report cards and stamps.

And then there are regulations — tackle restrictions that can be baffling and seasons that are impossible to memorize.

Sometimes the obstacles are illogical, to the point where it seems the state is purposefully trying to make anglers throw up their hands and quit.

Such is the case with a bill introduced in the Assembly last week by, not surprisingly, a Democrat from the Bay Area whose district has almost no freshwater fishing. Assemblyman Bill Quirk, while not an expert on fishing, is doing somebody’s bidding with a bill that would outlaw many lead fishing weights.

Assembly Bill 2787 was introduced Friday and quickly denounced by the California Sportfishing League.

Read rest of story here.

*    *    *    *

While I agree with the argument that this editorial makes, the author is uninformed regarding alternatives to lead. He doesn't even mention tungsten, which is my preference. But he is correct in that the alternatives are more expensive than lead.

Wednesday
Jan252017

Obama's 11th Hour Edict Labeled Anti-Fishing

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On the day before President Barack Obama left office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued an edict to ban lead fishing tackle and ammunition from hundreds of thousands of acres of land and water managed by that agency. Executed without stakeholder input, the controversial action has sparked outrage from fishing and hunting communities.
 
National Conservation Director Gene Gilliland said that B.A.S.S. “joins our state fisheries management agency partners and ASA (American Sportfishing Association) in calling on the new administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put a hold on the order.

“This 11th hour order, just hours before the new administration was to take office, was an obvious attempt to push through an order that is part of the previous administration’s environmental agenda without full consultation among all the stakeholders.”
 
Scott Gudes, ASA’s vice president of government affairs, added, “The sportfishing industry views this unilateral policy to ban lead fishing tackle, which was developed without any input from the industry, other angling organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies, as a complete disregard for the economic and social impact it will have on anglers and the recreational fishing industry.”
 
Signed by FWS Director Dan Ash, Order No. 219 requires “the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on service lands, waters and facilities by January 2022, except as needed for law enforcement and safety uses, as provided for in policy.”
 
Fortunately, action was taken by the new Trump administration the day after the rule was issued that could hinder its effectiveness. A memorandum issued from the White House to departments and agencies announced a freeze on implementing new regulations, pending review. Still, individual jurisdictions within FWS might choose to enforce the rule.
 
For years, environmentalists have attempted to gain a complete ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle by filing lawsuits. They’ve done so, Gilliland said, “despite the lack of a clear connection in many cases of negative population-level impacts on fish and wildlife.” But their arguments have been rejected by the courts. At the same time, selective bans have been implemented where research suggests a need for them, such as in some northern waters, where loons ingest lead shot.

“In the limited instances, where lead fishing tackle is demonstrated to harm local wildlife populations, the sportfishing industry supports actions to minimize or eliminate these impacts,” Gudes said. “However, unnecessary and sweeping bans such as this Director’s Order will do nothing to benefit wildlife populations and instead will penalize the nation’s 46 million anglers and hurt recreational fishing-dependent jobs.”
 
If not rescinded, it also will damage the partnership between the federal agency and the states, according to Nick Wiley, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “This action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources,” he said.
 
“The Association views this order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance. It does a disservice to hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries, and the many professionals on staff with the USFWS who desire a trusting and transparent relationship with their state partners.”

For further information or to arrange an interview with Gene Gilliland, contact JamieDay Matthews, B.A.S.S. communications coordinator, 205-313-0945, jmatthews@bassmaster.com.

About B.A.S.S. Conservation
For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. Conservation has focused on issues related to fisheries and aquatic resource conservation. We work with government agencies to develop sound management policies that protect and enhance aquatic resources. We partner with others to ensure government policies provide for these resources without compromising sportfishing opportunities. And through the B.A.S.S. Nation, we provide volunteer efforts to enhance fisheries resources and protect our sport. B.A.S.S. is world-renowned for state-of-the-art tournament fish care.

(I wrote this press release for B.A.S.S.)

Wednesday
Jul082015

California Could Ban Lead, Zinc, Copper Fishing Tackle

Unless public outcry forces a reversal by the California Department of Toxic Substances (CDTS),  the state is moving ahead with regulations that could ban fishing gear that contains lead, zinc, and copper. This follows quickly after the recent announcement that lead ammunition will not be allowed on state property and for all bighorn sheep hunting.

“It appears that politics, rather than science, was the basis for CDTS’s decision. While there are many sources of pollution that pose a serious threat to California’s ocean and streams, anglers are not among them,” said David Dickerson, president of the California Sportfishing League (CSL), which is spearheading opposition to the potential ban.

An environmental attorney and former CDTS director added that sellers and retailers of fishing tackle likely will be subjected to costly and onerous regulations, as well as potential fines.

“The result could be a wide range of enforcement options requiring restrictions or bans on sale, product reformulation, additional environmental impact studies, development of disposal programs, or funding for fundamental research and development,” said Maureen Gorsen. “The bottom line is that the cost of manufacturing fishing gear will increase significantly and these costs will be passed on to consumers.”

CDTS’s intentions were revealed in its draft of a Priority Product Work Plan for the Green Chemistry Initiative, which identifies seven product types, including fishing gear, for regulation and/or ban. Legislation authorizing the initiative was passed in 2008, but implementation was delayed for more than five years because of complexity and the potential for massive costs to small businesses, according to John Kabateck, California executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

“Green Chemistry is yet another example of Sacramento pursuing its agenda of environmental extremism without any concern for costs to consumers or California’s economic future,” he wrote in the Sacramento Business Journal in 2013.

 “The department has issued a broad proposal that will enable it to regulate the manufacturing and distribution of any product it chooses that could impose unworkable burdens on tens of thousands of small businesses in the state.”

And CDTS is doing so with fishing tackle even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in 2010 that lead gear does not pose an unreasonable risk to wildlife.  Also, a recently passed budget bill contains a provision to prohibit the use of federal dollars to ban lead fishing tackle.

In public hearings, the department admitted that it has no scientific studies to show that lead poses an environmental problem in California, added Dickerson. “State regulators failed to comply with state law that requires them to conduct an independent analysis before including any product in this regulatory process,” he said.

The CSL president predicted that additional regulations will encourage businesses to flee California to more business friendly states. “Furthermore, when fishing is no longer an accessible and affordable source of recreation for millions of anglers, it will have a substantial impact on California’s economy and jobs.”

A recent CSL study revealed that fishing license sales have dropped more than 55 percent since 1980, with the state ranking last nationally in fishing participation by percentage of its population.

“The high cost of fishing licenses and unwarranted limits on fishing have contributed to a significant decline in participation,” Dickerson said. “Increasing the cost of gear and potential bans will only accelerate the decline, and threaten California jobs that are dependent on outdoor recreation and tourism.”

In addition to CSL, others lobbying for delisting of fishing gear include the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Travel Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the California Parks Hospitality Association, the California Association for Recreational Fishing, the American Sportfishing Association,  and Coastside Fishing Club.

Anglers who want to voice their opposition to a lead ban can sign at petition on CSL’s website.

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

 

Monday
May252015

Lead Ban Would Be Bad News for Anglers, Economy in California

 

Click on the photo for more information and to sign a petition against a ban on lead fishing tackle.

As California considers prohibiting fishing tackle that contains lead, zinc, and copper, a report by the California Coastal Conservation Association and the American Sportfishing Association  (ASA) reveals that banning traditional fishing tackle will diminish participation, which generates millions of dollars for fisheries conservation in the state.

 “While California ranks fifth in the nation in number of anglers, we are dead last in terms of per capita participation,” said Bill Shedd, chairman of the California Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association and President of AFTCO.

 “However, sportfishing is an important economic generator for our state, and banning lead tackle, as currently being considered by the state of California, is another burden that would increase the cost of fishing, hurt anglers and cost our economy millions of dollars in lost revenue and almost 2,600 jobs.”

Findings from surveys conducted of anglers and manufacturers by South Associates include the following:

  • A ban on lead fishing tackle would likely reduce angler activity in California, which would in turn negatively impact the recreational fishing industry and those whose livelihoods depend on it.
  • A survey of tackle manufacturers indicated that the price impact of producing lures, flies and terminal tackle with lead substitutes would double costs on average.
  • Only 25 percent of manufacturers surveyed indicated that it was even technically feasible to currently switch to non-lead substitutes.
  • If a lead ban were to cause prices to double for lures, flies and terminal tackle, the report says that approximately 5 percent of anglers would leave the sport or nearly 80,000 anglers.
  • The surveys used in the report also suggest that anglers who continue to fish, 18 percent would fish fewer days, each fishing 21 percent fewer days on average.
  • Combined with anglers leaving the sport, this would reduce total California angler days and expenditures in recreational fishing by two million fewer angler days, and $173 million in lost revenues.
  • The $173 million in recreational fishing revenues currently supports 2,582 jobs, $113.6 million in salaries and wages, $24.2 million in state and local tax revenue, and $26.4 million in federal tax revenues.

“This report shows that, in addition to the direct economic losses to recreational fishing-dependent businesses, fish and wildlife conservation programs in California would suffer as prices for tackle increase and overall fishing expenditures suffer,” said Scott Gudes, ASA’s vice president for Government Affairs.

“ Not many people realize that it is anglers who pay for California’s fishery conservation programs through fishing tackle excise taxes and license fees. A ban on lead tackle is not based on science. Anglers and conservation programs would be the losers.”

For more information about this and to sign a petition against a ban, visit the California Sportfishing League.