Editorial: Getting the lead out of tackle catching on

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 25, 2005

Studies show lead tackle has a damaging effect on birds and waterfowl, including loons. Research conducted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency concluded that lead poisoning accounted for 12 percent of dead adult loons with known causes of death.

And, from 1980 to 1996, the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota reported degrees of lead poisoning in 138 of 650 eagles treated by center handlers. Since 1996, 43 additional eagles were found to have lead poisoning. This included 22 eagles last year.

In the early 1990s lead shot was banned in waterfowl hunting. And, bullet fragments in big game carcasses, lead shot left in upland game and lead fishing tackle all are considered possible sources of lead poisoning of eagles.

Email newsletter signup

The statewide &uot;Get the Lead Out&uot; of fishing tackle campaign launched recently is an effort to address the issue.

The campaign aims to protect waterfowl from the effects of eating lead sinkers or fish that have swallowed lead tackle.

It’s a worthwhile effort and timely. We may soon see legislation leading to the eventual phasing out of lead tackle.

Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, offered such a bill at the Legislature in 2004, mainly in an effort to raise awareness. While Dill’s legislation &045; which provided incentives for phasing out lead tackle &045; didn’t pass, the movement to address the issue appears to be gaining momentum.

Whatever legislation is ultimately passed in Minnesota must provide for a smooth transition that balances environmental needs with those of the tackle industry.

&045; The Daily Journal (International Falls)