American Sportfishing Association releases statement on National Wildlife Refuge lead tackle restrictions

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September 16, 2022 by Keith Worrall

Amended September 16, 2022 at 10:15 a.m.

On Thursday, September 15, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released a final rule announcing a ban on lead fishing gear on certain National Wildlife Refuges open to fishing. The American Sportfishing Association released the following statement from Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard.

“It is deeply disappointing that the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has ignored the science and concerns of the sport fishing industry. The USFWS is responsible for ensuring that the management of fish and wildlife resources is grounded in the best available science and data. This proposed rule flies in the face of that charge and sets a dangerous precedent for future unwarranted fishing tackle bans. Although the USFWS says the move is based on concerns that lead fishing ammunition and tackle have negative effects on the health and well-being of humans and wildlife, the USFWS has provided no evidence that lead fishing tackle causes adverse effects in these shelters.

“As we have said before, the ASA and the entire sport fishing community fully support science-based conservation initiatives. Our industry has long made sacrifices for the betterment of the environment and While anglers should have the choice whether or not to use alternatives, it is important to recognize that lead-free tackle may be more expensive and less efficient.

“We hope the USFWS will realize the mistake it made in this rule and reconsider its implementation. Anglers should be able to continue to use traditional fishing gear as they have for generations.

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