ASA ‘blindsided’ by plans to ban lead on US waters
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Major fishing organisations across the US – including the trade representative body, the American Sportfishing Association – have called on the new Trump administration to repeal an order banning the use of lead fishing tackle on US public waters.
The recreational fishing industry was sent reeling by the shock edict issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on the day before President Obama left office to phase out the use of lead fishing tackle on hundreds of thousands of square miles of public lands under its management.
The ASA admits that it was ‘blindsided’ by the move and along with B.A.S.S. and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) has called for the order to be put on hold. The ASA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Scott Gudes, said: “Our industry views this unilateral policy to ban lead fishing tackle, which was developed without any input from the trade, other angling organisations or state fish and wildlife agencies, as a complete disregard for the social and economic impact it will have on anglers and the recreational fishing industry.
“A sound, science-driven and durable policy could have been crafted with input from the trade and the broader recreational fishing community. We are hopeful that the new leadership at the USFWS will repeal the Director’s Order and develop policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.”
In a release on its website, AFWA expressed its ‘utter dismay’ at the move by the USFWS. Association President Nick Wiley said: “This action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources.
“The Association views this order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance. It does a disservice to hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries and the many professionals on staff with the USFWS who desire a trusting and transparent relationship with their state partners.
“This is an unacceptable federal overreach of the states’ authority and we look forward to working with the new administration in the redress of this poorly timed and executed decision.”
The National Conservation Director of B.A.S.S., Gene Gilliland, joined in the call for the order to be suspended. “This 11th hour order, just hours before the new administration was to take office, was an obvious attempt to push through an order that is part of the previous administration’s environmental agenda without full consultation among all stakeholders.”