Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Fishing Lead Free Protects Wildlife

Posted by  //  March 22, 2022  //  Articles, Creature Feature

As both a lifetime angler and a devoted conservationist, I’m dismayed by the deadly impact of lead fishing tackle on wildlife, especially loons, eagles, swans and other aquatic birds.  It takes just one tiny lead sinker to kill an adult loon, and lead poisoning from fishing tackle is a major cause of loon mortality.  

Lead is invisible to wildlife. Loons are often poisoned when they accidentally pick up pieces of lost lead tackle instead of pebbles, which are swallowed to help digest food in the gizzard.  The lead gets absorbed quickly but the loon dies slowly, suffering painfully for 2-3 weeks before succumbing to the neurotoxin.  Loons and eagles also ingest lead when they catch or scavenge a fish that has swallowed tackle, or has a broken line and tackle attached.

Lead continues to pile up in the environment where it threatens wildlife and water quality, too.  Only partially banned in New York, literal tons of lead tackle products are still sold.  Yet, there are many high performing, non-toxic alternatives available that don’t poison wildlife and pollute water – quality products made from tungsten, steel, tin, bismuth, metal composites, glass and even ceramics (photo).  They are pricier than lead, but aren’t our natural resources and wildlife priceless?  When retailers and anglers commit to going lead free, costs will come down.

Please help protect vulnerable wildlife and our natural resources by pledging to fish lead free.

Margie Manthey

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