Californian anglers warned: Lead ban battle not over yet
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Californian fishermen are claiming victory over the proposed lead weight ban, although the state’s leading fishing body has warned that the fight is not yet over.
The controversial bill, proposing a complete ban on lead weights and sinkers of 50g or lighter across the state, was amended before being passed out of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Substances last week.
Instead of constituting the bill – authored by Assembleyman Bill Quirk – the committee now proposes to ‘study’ the potential impact of lead on Californian wildlife.
“While we appreciate the author’s willingness to amend the bill and work with the angling community, the bill has not yet earned our support,” said Marko Mlikotin, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing League.
“The study, as defined by the author, is overly broad and could be contracted out to an anti-fishing organisation, instead of an objective government agency.”
A coalition group of industries and organisations representing fishing, boating, marina operators, retailers and tourism had demanded greater analysis before passing legislation that would have such lasting impacts on fishing participation and jobs.
More than 5,000 anglers had signed the ‘Stop the Fishing Tackle Ban’ petition, urging legislators to oppose the bill as original drafted.
“Anglers can claim a big victory, but we need to continue to communicate to legislators the importance of protecting recreational fishing’s future,” added Mlikotin. “Proponents of banning lead fishing tackle will not give up, even if there is no science to justify it.”