Loon advocates renew call for lead fishing jigs ban
Opponents to the legislation, including several state and national bass fishing groups, describe the bill as virtually identical to one tabled by legislators in 2012, and say it should be defeated again.
The Loon Preservation Committee and the New Hampshire Lakes Association are backing Senate Bill 89, which would prohibit the use and sale of toxic lead fishing tackle and ban sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less, which the loon committee claims is the largest known cause of New Hampshire adult loon mortality.
The bill, which has passed the Senate and will soon come before the House, would take effect in 2015, giving anglers time to find non-lead tackle, which is widely available, said Tom O'Brien of the lakes association.
From 1989 to 2011, 124 adult loons were killed by lead fishing tackle on state water bodies, and lead tackle remains a daily threat to adult loons, according to attorney Sheridan Brown, a consultant to the loon committee.
The committee, which has built a network of 1,500 members and volunteers dedicated to safeguarding loons and other threatened and endangered species since it was formed in 1975, said the laws need to be changed.
Backers of the legislation are hopeful it will pass, saying legislators seem more informed about the bill this year, though again the state's Fish and Game Commission is not supporting it.
Opponents of the bill say they have evidence showing that loons are not as heavily affected by lead fishing tackle as the loon committee claims.
"To us, the scientific studies show the loons are picking up smaller stuff that has lead in it, nothing near the size of a jig," said Dick Smith of the New Hampshire Bass Federation.
Smith said a prohibition on lead jigs would affect more than 230,000 fishing enthusiasts every year in the state.
"From what we understand, the loon population is fairly stable," Smith said. "Even if they are right and a few loons get killed, our concerns should be with those who want to fish in our state."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Pinkerton community ready to party like its 1814: 200th Gala Anniversary set for Sept. 27 - 0
- Peterborough children's author to be featured at Francestown Labor Day Celebration - 0
- White House honors Nashua teen for environmental stewardship - 0
- Building joint Salem public safety facility to be studied - 0
- Selectmen reduce non-resident registrations at senior center - 0
- Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: October's on the shelves already - 0
- NH food & wine calendar, beginning Aug. 28 - 0
- Winners Announced for 10th Annual Hampton Beach Talent Competition - 0
- Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports brings back adaptive shooting clinics - 0
Pinkerton community ready to party like its 1814: 200th Gala Anniversary set for Sept. 27
Win tickets to see the Pretty Reckless
GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help
Ohio's Rob Portman: GOP can win back Senate