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Big guns of fishing take aim at further lead restrictions


America’s biggest fishing organisations have joined forces to oppose legislation that would further restrict the use of lead in the state of Maine.

The Maine state legislature is proposing to extend the state’s ban on the sale and use of unpainted jig heads under 2.5 inches long.

The ASA is among ten partners pushing back against what it calls ‘this unnecessary regulation which could discourage participation in fishing by banning the use of traditional tackle.’

The ten organisations, which also include the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and Major League Fishing (MLF), have written to the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposing the move.

The act seeks to expand protections to Maine’s loons from lead poisoning by prohibiting the sale and use of certain painted lead jigs in state waters.

But an extract from the letter says: “Given that it remains unclear if painted lead jigs are even toxic for loons, and that Maine loon populations continue to increase in size despite the current use of painted jigs by anglers, banning their use will not address any identified, science-based need. We encourage members of the committee to oppose this legislation.”

The letter adds that ‘several studies have found that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest the use of lead tackle in recreational fishing has adverse impacts on loons and swans.’

The letter continues: “Maine Audubon’s [conservation group) annual loon count shows a progressive recovery of loon populations over the past four decades.

“A ban on the sale and use of painted lead jigs would be detrimental not only to Maine’s economy, but to funding for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, as well.”

Other signatories of the letter are the American Catfish Association, the Bass Federation, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Maine B.A.S.S. Nation, the National Professional Anglers Association and the Walleye Federation.

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