New US legislation could protect lead in fishing tackle
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New legislation passed by a US Senate committee has delivered several wins for the recreational fishing industry, including the backing for lead in fishing tackle.
America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (ACE), which is supported by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the country’s representative body for the industry, and many other outdoor and fisheries conservation organisations, was passed unanimously and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“Bipartisanship is a rare commodity these days in Washington, but national resources conservation is one of the areas that gets support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “The sportfishing industry is grateful to senators John Barrasso and Tom Carper for championing this legislation and quickly moving it out of committee.
“Multiple bipartisan wins are included in this major legislation such as the authorisation of the National Fish Habitat Partnership programme and support for initiatives important to fisheries conservation in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.
“When Congress comes together to support conservation and recreational fishing access, great things can be accomplished and we welcome more bipartisan collaboration.”
Important wins for the recreational fishing community within the ACE Act include:
• National Fish Habitat Partnership programme authorisation: This is a state and locally driven initiative that funds on-the-ground restoration projects. Federally authorising this programme will help provide more consistent federal funding and establish a strategic framework creating certainty for restoration and conservation projects.
• Lead in fishing tackle provisions: Fishing tackle that includes products containing lead, would be exempted from unwarranted federal regulations and bans. This provision will provide certainty to tackle manufacturers and the nation’s 49 million anglers against sweeping federal restrictions.
• Chesapeake Bay restoration and conservation: Conservation and restoration programmes to help clean up Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are included in the ACE Act. Chesapeake Bay is critical to the health and vitality of many recreationally important fish such as striped bass.
• Great Lakes research and assessment: The Great Lakes-focused provision in the legislation will help support fisheries data collection in the Great Lakes. It also authorises the US Geological Survey to conduct biological assessments needed for conserving and maintaining the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishery.