Recognizing the harm lead was causing swans, diving birds, and
wading birds, Great Britain banned the use of lead sinkers weighing
less than one ounce in 1987. Click here
for details. Great Britain implemented the ban after voluntary
efforts were ineffective.
In 1997, under the authority of the Canadian Wildlife Act and
National Parks Act, Canada prohibited the use of lead sinkers
and jigs weighing less than 50 grams (1.76 oz.) in all of its
national parks and wildlife areas.
The first state to address the issue through a ban, New Hampshire
1196 in June 1998. Effective January 1, 2000, the act prohibits
the use in freshwater lakes or ponds of lead sinkers weighing
one ounce or less and lead jigs less than one inch long. Violators
are subject to a maximum fine of $250. Additionally, the bill
mandated the creation of an educational program to inform the
public about the adverse effects of lead on wildlife and the steps
individuals can take to reduce their impact on the environment.
See also New
Hampshire Revised Statute 211:13-b.
In 1997, Maine passed a bill (LD 1111) authorizing the Commissioner
of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to accept donations of money,
goods, or services for the purpose of educating the public about
the threat to loons and other bird species from discarded or lost
lead sinkers and lures. Initially, the act called for the prohibition
of the use and possession of artificial lures and sinkers containing
zinc or lead and weighing less than two ounces or measuring less
than one inch along their longest axis.
In May 1999, Maine enacted LD
875. The act prohibits the sale of lead sinkers (but not artificial
lures, weighted line, weighted flies, or jig heads) weighing one-half
ounce or less as of January 1, 2002.
See also Maine
Statutes, Title 12, Part 10, Chapter 711, Subchapter 3, Section
Effective May 7, 2004, New York Consolidated Law Section
11-0308 makes it unlawful for persons to sell at retail or
offer for retail sale lead sinkers (but not artificial lures,
weighted line, weighted flies, or jig heads) weighing one-half
ounce or less. Anglers may continue to use whatever tackle remains
in their tackle boxes.
The law was enacted because the legislature found that small
- pose an unnecessary and unacceptable human health risk,
- cause or contribute to the mortality of the common loon, several
species of waterfowl and other birds, and
- can be replaced by cost competitive non-lead sinkers that
are less hazardous to both people and birds.
“The toxic effects of lead sinkers are a threat to waterfowl,
especially loons, and these new restrictions will help protect
birds and other wildlife,” said Governor George Pataki after
signing the bill. “Fishing is a popular sport in all areas
of New York and this law will promote responsible fishing through
the use of non-toxic sinkers.”
In 2000, Vermont implemented a public education program aimed
at encouraging anglers to voluntarily use non-lead alternatives.
The program utilizes brochures and lead sinker exchanges to get
the message out.
/ HF0192 was considered, a bill proposing a ban on the sale and
use of lead sinkers weighing less than one ounce. That bill was
shelved in favor of SF0035
/ HF0059, a bill aimed at public education about lead dangers
and the availability of alternatives. Most importantly, SF0035
requires the Commissioner of Natural Resources and Director of
the Office of Environmental Assistance to educate the public about
lead tackle concerns and the availability of non-lead alternatives.
Additionally, after consultation with the Commissioner of Natural
Resources, the Director of the Office of Environmental Assistance
may make grants to conservation and angler organizations to assist
their efforts to reduce the use of lead fishing tackle. SF0035
also urges the Commissioner of Natural Resources to work with
other agencies to undertake advocacy for uniform laws and educational
efforts, and create incentives for anglers to use non-lead alternatives.
Also, SF0035 allows conservation officers to provide information
to anglers and provide samples of lead-free sinkers and jigs.
The bill was introduced on May 21, 2003, and referred to the Committee
on Rules and Administration.
Apart from the bill, a “stakeholders group,” consisting
of representatives of tackle manufacturers, angling groups, the
Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Environmental Assistance,
the Audubon Society, and other groups, will meet to craft a compromise
to phase out the use of small lead tackle in Minnesota. They hope
to reach a consensus in time for the 2004 legislature.
page was last updated on October 23, 2003.