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Washington State Anglers Face a Ban on Lead Fishing Tackle

Send a message to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission opposing unwarranted fishing tackle regulations

Despite public opposition, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (WFWC) has before them a proposal for a complete ban of lead fishing tackle on 13 lakes. A ban on lead fishing tackle on the proposed lakes will have a significant negative impact on recreational anglers and fisheries resources in Washington, but a negligible impact on the loon populations that it seeks to protect. Such a ban is not supported by sound science.

How You Can Help

Send the message below to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to express your opposition to this biologically unwarranted fishing tackle restriction.

The Situation

In 2009, a loon advocacy organization presented the WFWC with a proposed rule to ban the use of small lead fishing tackle on the 13 lakes where loons breed in Washington. Before acting on any proposed changes, the WFWC established an advisory committee and sought public input. Even through the committee was unable to come to a consensus and public opinion was largely against lead fishing tackle regulations, the WFWC is currently considering a ban on all lead fishing tackle on these 13 lakes.  In 12 of the lakes the proposal would to make it “[u]nlawful to use fishing tackle containing lead. Tackle includes, but is not limited to, weights, sinkers, jigs, lures, flies, and lead-core line.”  On one lake that is currently open only to fly fishing, the ban is for lead in flies and fly line. This proposal is more severe than the original suggested rule.

On November 4, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected a petition to ban all lead fishing tackle on all U.S. waters, stating that the petitioners did not demonstrate that a ban of all lead fishing tackle is “necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” The WFWC’s proposed ban is even less justified; advocates of the proposed regulations have cited only nine loon mortalities from lead fishing tackle ingestion over a 13 year period. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington’s loon numbers are increasing.

A complete ban of lead fishing tackle on 13 Washington lakes is not reasonable or warranted. Fishing tackle made from alternatives to lead can be much more expensive and do not perform as well. If anglers don’t act soon, the cost of fishing in Washington may increase significantly.

Act Now!

The deadline to officially submit comment on the proposed lead fishing tackle ban on 13 Washington lakes has passed, but KeepAmericaFishing™ encourages anglers to continue to take action to ensure that the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will reject the proposed ban. Please follow the steps below to send your message to the Commission today.

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