Barbs and Backlashes

Lead ban? by whitetips
September 10, 2010, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

By now I am sure most of you have heard about the proposed ban on lead fishing tackle, for example, .  As you might imagine, there are a lot of politics involved in this issue and it frustrates me how the extremes always seem to drive the discussion.  I believe a lot of that occurs because reporting on those extremes makes for a “good story”.

I debated whether or not to even blog on this topic, because I do not necessarily want to tell anyone what position they should or should not take on any issue.  However; if you have been reading my blog, you know I have no problem campaigning for issues I believe in, but I would hope everyone that reads my “stuff” will think through things and make their own decisions.

I have read several position statements and papers on the proposed ban on lead fishing tackle.  I am not going to copy them here or post links to all the materials I have read because there is a lot of it.  Yes, there is documentation that several species of “water birds” will ingest lead fishing tackle and that ingestion can kill those birds.  However, there is also documentation that the populations of those water birds are not being negatively impacted.  Now read my words closely, ingestion of lead fishing tackle may very well kill THE INDIVIDUAL bird that ingests that item, but in terms of the entire population of those birds the mortality from the ingestion of lead fishing tackle may be insignificant.  Sorry, but that is how a pointy-headed fisheries biologist looks at it; fish and wildlife management is accomplished at the population level, not the individual level.  In some localized areas the ingestion of lead fishing tackle by waterfowl may be more of a concern in that specific area, but does that warrant a nation-wide ban?

May I point out that tangling in discarded fishing line likely affects more water birds than lead ingestion?  Again that is probably not enough of a problem to impact bird populations, but recycle that old fishing line and do not even think about leaving a wad of it on the shoreline!!! ,

Having read through some position statements, I believe the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, , has taken a reasonable and common-sense stand on this issue.  I would encourage you to read their news release here, .

So, that is my $0.02-worth on that topic.  If you are concerned, take some time and look through the links I have posted and then do a “Google Search” and you can read a ton of more information on the subject.  You can get involved in this issue, and I would encourage you to exercise that right, that freedom that we have!

2 Comments so far
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Plumbosolvency in open waters would be rare in Nebraska, purely for the fact that it takes a lower pH to initiate the reaction in creating lead-based salts.

Having said that, simply because a material has been used for an extended period of time does not necessarily mean it is safe or even the most desirable. We know that lead in soil and the dissolved salts of lead in water present health issues for all life, so why not simply take the step of using other materials that have similar costs and do not pose the same toxicity issues? I have used ceramic lures and find them to be no less effective than lead-weighted ones. They sink, and they provide a ballast to enables me to cast. They are not common, but like lead lures and weights, can be made at home by the DIY outdoorsperson.

I would caution from using the mortality rate of direct consumption of elemental lead as a basis of declaring it benign. It would be somewhat analogous to the argument that since only a few kids chewed on painted surfaces and became sick, lead-based paint is not an issue.

An all out ban on lead use in outdoor activities is not the answer, IMHO, but I believe as sportsmen, fishers, and conservators of our resources . . . it is our duty to begin using alternatives that don’t have the jaded history of toxicity that lead has.

Comment by S. R. Cooper

Both points eloquently put and worthy of the time it took to read them.

Thank you

Comment by R. S. Swing

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