May 11, 2004
Lead is a toxic
metal that negatively affects nervous and reproductive systems
of humans and animals. It
has been banned from paint, gasoline additives, and pipes that
access drinking water. Lead sinkers, jigs, and shot
have been targeted as the cause of indirectly harming some
species of waterfowl and increasing lead concentrations in our
waterways. The affects of
lead sinkers, jigs, and shot on the environment has not been
fully researched, but recent studies on certain diversity
indicator species may show a projection of the future.
Banning lead sinkers, jigs, and shot is a very controversial
topic that has created heated debate between environmentalists
and outdoor sporting enthusiasts.
poisoning in many different species of waterfowl is a major
problem in the Northeast United and Eastern Canada. Lead
sinkers, jigs, and shot have been ingested by waterfowl because
they bear a resemblance to grain and grit required for
ingestion. The ingestion of a single sinker, jig, or shot
pellet can be lethal. Research shows that lead poisoning is
the leading cause of death for the Common Loon in the Northeast
U.S. Also, a large amount of lead is being
deposited into the environment every year and could pose a threat
to humans, not just waterfowl. There have been regulatory actions
taken in several states of the Northeast U.S. that ban the use of lead
sinkers and jigs. Vermont is currently proposing legislation
that would put a similar ban into effect. Currently, there
are a wide variety of non-toxic alternatives for both fishing and
hunting. It seems inevitable that lead fishing tackle will
be banned at some point. We've
taken the lead out of gasoline and paint.
We've made it illegal to use lead shot for waterfowl
hunting. It makes
sense for anglers to phase it out of their tackle boxes, too.
The bottom line is that we know we are losing some loons to
lead poisoning, so if the chance to reduce mortality is available
then there should be no other option.
think that sportsman are conservationists at heart and if they knew the full
extent of this problem they would most likely pay the increased expense to
save these endangered bird species. Let's launch a vigorous
campaign on this issue and begin
working with anglers, hunters and manufacturers to make the transition
smooth and fair. And
let's get it done sooner than later.