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April 27, 2011

Sportfishing industry lauds legislation to prevent federal ban on lead fishing tackle

The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act will end attempts to overregulate the fishing tackle industry

Alexandria, VA - The sportfishing industry champions bipartisan legislation that would halt efforts to federally ban traditional fishing tackle and ammunition. The chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus - Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and John Thune (R-SD) and Representatives Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Mike Ross (D-AR) -  introduced the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act (S. 838 and H.R. 1558) to help ensure that any future regulations on fishing tackle are established based on scientific data instead of unjustified petitions. This legislation will put an end to attempts to overregulate the recreational fishing and hunting industries and protect the rights of anglers and hunters who choose to sustainably enjoy their sports.

"The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act will help protect one of our nation's greatest pastimes from unwarranted regulation," said American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Vice President Gordon Robertson. "The sportfishing industry applauds the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus leadership and the additional sponsors of this legislation for addressing an issue that urgently needs a dose of common sense." 

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed a petition filed by several organizations seeking to ban the manufacture and trade of lead fishing tackle and ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) because the petitioners did not demonstrate that such a ban is "necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment." The new legislation supports and reinforces the EPA's decision by clarifying the TSCA exemption for ammunition and establishing a similar exemption for fishing tackle.

"Despite the EPA's clear ruling, the petitioners continue to attempt to push the ban by filing a lawsuit to force the EPA to regulate lead fishing tackle and ammunition," noted Robertson. "The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act is needed to protect traditional fishing tackle and ammunition from unjustified bans that will harm the economy and reduce participation in outdoor activities."

"There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional fishing tackle is having an adverse impact on loons and other waterfowl populations, the reason groups most often cite as the reason for a ban," said Robertson. "The fact is that our nation's waterfowl populations are healthy. The most recent population study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that loon populations are either stable or increasing throughout most of their range. It is a shame that these groups have chosen to focus their efforts against recreational fishing and hunting, which support healthy resources, instead of the more significant threats to waterfowl such as habitat loss, gill nets, predation by domestic and feral animals and water quality problems."

"Last November 43,000 anglers helped to defeat the most recent attempt to ban lead tackle by sending a loud and clear message to the EPA which had a significant impact on the agency's decision. However, the issue is not yet resolved," concluded Robertson. "We encourage all anglers to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to support the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act."

Anglers can visit www.KeepAmericaFishing.org to voice their support for this important legislation and to learn more about the issue.