Prospects Good For Tighter Lead Laws

Apr 9, 2013

Stricter lead laws hope to reduce adult loon mortality. 49% of dead loons studied had been killed by ingesting lead, and half of the studied birds ate jigs that would be banned under this law.
Credit aaronHWarren / Flickr Creative Commons

  People who work to protect loons think that this year the stars could be aligned for passing a bill that would tighten restrictions on lead fishing tackle. The proposed bill would ratchet up restrictions on lead fishing jigs in 2015.

Harry Vogel, the director of the Loon Preservation Committee says currently lead jigs more than one inch long are legal, and those jigs are found in the stomachs of a quarter of the dead New Hampshire loons studied. “Lead tackle is by far the largest contributor to documented loon mortality in the state,” he told reporters Tuesday, “And in fact it is nine times the next largest contributor.”

The measure passed unanimously through the state senate and now faces the House of Representatives, where a similar bill died last year.

But Republican representative Al Baldassaro who has been a vocal opponent of the measure was on hand Tuesday as well. He called the bill “feel-good BS” though he admits that with democrats in charge this year, the bill’s prospects are good. “Well the Democrats I’m sure they’ll support it. I think they’ll support anything that protects the wildlife,” he said.

The House Fish and Game committee will hear the bill in the coming weeks.