By Soren Nelson, Pacific Southwest States Coordinator
On April 24, the California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Substances held a hearing on Assembly Bill 2787, a bill that would outlaw the manufacturing, sale, and purchase of lead fishing weights weighing less than 50 grams.
Following a collaborative process with representatives from angling organizations and the recreational sportfishing industry, the bill’s sponsor, Assembly Member Bill Quirk, committed to amending the bill to mandate a study of the potential impact of lead fishing tackle on humans and wildlife in California before pursuing an outright ban. To date, no studies have been conducted in California that demonstrate lead tackle has an adverse impact on wildlife at the population level.
Earlier this year, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted comments to the Committee articulating opposition to the bill. “California’s recreational anglers are vital to the continued conservation of the state’s natural resources. This bill would create a significant barrier to participation in recreational fishing and would do so for reasons that have no scientific basis,” noted CSF Pacific Southwest States Coordinator Soren Nelson.
A number of organizations joined CSF in expressing their opposition to the bill in its current form, including the American Sportfishing Association, the California Sportfishing League, and the California Chamber of Commerce. No witnesses spoke in favor of the bill.
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?