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Would a Lead Fishing Tackle Ban Kill Fishing in California?

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Would a Lead Fishing Tackle Ban Kill Fishing in California?

We need to start adopting angler-friendly policies in California and not start regulating what’s in an angler’s tackle box.

Despite the EPA’s findings that a national ban is scientifically unjustified, and despite admitting in public hearings that it has no scientific evidence showing lead is an environmental problem in California, DTSC continues to move forward with its decision to ban lead tackle in California. Unfortunately, a lead ban would almost certainly accelerate the state’s steady decline in fishing participation. That, in turn, would affect jobs and state revenue.

According to California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), between 2002 and 2007, freshwater and saltwater fishing in the state declined 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively. In fact, only 4.3 percent of California adults fish. No other state has lower participation.

The California Sportfishing League (CSL) says while many factors have contributed to sportfishing’s decline, “…there is no question that California’s tough regulatory environment has accelerated this decline. As a direct result of California’s regulatory regime and the power of anti-sportfishing organizations, sportfishing’s positive economic impact on businesses and communities has diminished.”

The California Coastal Conservation Association (CCCA) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) agree and have evidence that supports that contention. The results of an angler survey released by the two organizations on May 25 outlines the economic issues associated with requiring California anglers to switch to non-lead tackle such as tungsten and tin. Titled “Effects on the Ban on Traditional-Based Tackle for Fishing in California on Angler Participation and Associated Economic Measures,” the report, produced for ASA by Southwick Associates, demonstrates that banning traditional fishing tackle will have a negative impact on fishing participation, which contributes $4.9 billion annually to the state’s economy.

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