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Proposed legislation would ‘cripple’ fly tying industry


The fly tying industry in Washington State is under threat from proposed legislation that would ban the sale of fur.

Opponents of a bill, which include the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), say the proposal would cripple the fly tying industry in the state.

“This bill would condemn our business,” said Josh Phillips, co-owner of the Pawn Fly Fish shop in Ilwaco. “It’s important we work together to understand the impact this bill will have on small businesses like ours,” he told outdoorlife.com.

Supporters of the bill, which was heard by the Senate Business, Financial Services, Gaming and Trade Community last week, appear mainly focused on the fashion industry. But the fishing, hunting and trapping industries stand to be serious casualties.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Derek Stanford, says that a substituted version of the bill makes an exception for flies and fishing lures and that its main aim is to ban the sale of furs produced unethically in foreign countries or in fur farms that use cruel practices.

But businesses that rely on the materials say the version does not go far enough. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Development Coordinator Josh Mills said the updated language exemplifies the lack of understanding about how fur is used in fly tying.

The revised version makes an exception for animal hair, fleece and fur fibres ‘not attached to skin,’ but Phillips points out that it’s ‘nearly impossible’ to work with materials without the skin attached.

Speaking to outdoor life.com, Mills said: “The trapping, hunting and fly tying industries are in the crosshairs of this bill.” And Phillips agrees that the provisions still don’t go far enough in protecting Washington’s fishing industry. He also points out that synthetic alternatives don’t behave the same way as natural materials in the water and do not meet the demands of eco-friendly fishing.

A similar bill in Oregon failed while a ban went into law in California last year.

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