By Soren Nelson, Pacific Southwest States Coordinator
On February 16, California Assembly Member Bill Quirk introduced Assembly Bill 2787, a bill that would outlaw the manufacturing, sale and purchase of lead fishing weights weighing less than 50 grams. AB 2787 has the potential to be among the strictest fishing tackle bans in the country, given the broad scope of weights and sinkers that would be banned under the provisions of the bill.
To date, no studies have been conducted in California that demonstrate lead tackle has an adverse impact on wildlife at a population level. A petition expressing concern with the bill is currently being circulated by the California Sportfishing League.
This is not the first time that lead fishing weights have been targeted by the state of California. In 2015, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control promulgated regulations that would have implemented a similar ban on lead fishing tackle. The regulations were later withdrawn following community feedback, which included comments submitted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) in conjunction with the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) California. In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation that banned the use of lead ammunition while hunting, which goes into full effect on July 1 of next year.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?