The American Sportfishing Association has provided the resources below to learn more about this important issue and how to engage your company and consumers to protect our industry.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to prohibit the use of lead tackle in several national wildlife refuges. Banning lead tackle will deter fishing participation and, given the lack of scientific basis for the ban, sets the stage for future unwarranted restrictions. ASA is urging people to reach out to USFWS to support the use of traditional tackle by Aug. 22.
While ASA is hoping to work in consultation with USFWS, recent legislation was also introduced in Congress to address this issue. The Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act, was introduced in both chambers of Congress. If passed, this new bill would prohibit federal land management agencies from banning the use of traditional lead tackle and ammunition on public lands unless such action is supported by the best available science and has state wildlife and fish agency approval.
What’s the Issue
The recreational fishing community fully supports conservation, and we have a long record of making changes and sacrifices that help the environment. However, conservation must be rooted in sound science. The USFWS provides no evidence that lead fishing tackle is harming any specific wildlife populations in the proposed areas. This proposal is a proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent” that could escalate to much broader and equally baseless restrictions on your ability to fish.
Why It Matters
Anglers and hunters are America’s original conservationists. The nation depends on their continued ability to fish and hunt to maintain public lands.
Anglers around the country depend on the performance and affordability of lead, especially in sinkers and jigs. While alternatives exist, they come with tradeoffs in cost and/or performance. Protecting traditional tackle from unwarranted bans is critical for ensuring that anglers can enjoy the sport. Banning lead will also potentially impact fishing license sales and ultimately reduce funding available for conservation. It is important that our industry makes a compelling case to the USFWS that anglers should be able to continue the use of traditional tackle.
What ASA is Doing
In addition to the hard work of the ASA government affairs team, ASA has been engaging Keep America Fishing supporters nationwide, urging them to submit comments to the USFWS during the open comment period, which closes Aug. 22. ASA has also asked supporters to write letters to their members of Congress in support of the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act. In addition, we are actively promoting the issue widely through podcasts and social media.
On June 22, 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made an announcement to proceed with prohibitions on lead fishing tackle throughout several national wildlife refuges in which hunting and fishing opportunities are being expanded. ASA issued a statement in response the USFWS announcement.
On Aug. 22, 2023, ASA submitted a letter on the 2023-2024 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations for the National Wildlife Refuge System, expressing concerns with the proposed bans on lead fishing tackle in seven refuges.
What You Can Do
Submit comments to USFWS by Aug. 22, 2023, supporting the use of traditional tackle and to base their decisions and guidelines on sound science.
Write Your Members of Congress
Write your members of Congress urging them to support the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act. Click here to see sample letters and text
Share on Social Media
Post about this issue on your social media platforms and direct your followers to our Keep America Fishing action alert.
Send an Invitation to Policymakers
Invite your policymakers to your facility to help them understand the importance of our industry and your contribution to the industry. Please reach out to Mike Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.