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.