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Lead Fishing Ban

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Here is the bill in question:



Sponsor: Heather Steans



Full Text:

<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=76&GA=96&DocTypeId=SB&DocNum=1269&GAID=10&LegID=42210&SpecSess=&Session=" target="_blank">http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.a...s=&Session=</a>


Creates the Lead Sinker Act. Prohibits any person from selling, supplying, distributing or offering to sell, supply, or distribute lead sinkers and lead jigs. Prohibits the use of lead sinkers and lead jigs to take fish in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, brooks, and similar bodies of water over which the Department of Natural Resources ("the Department") has jurisdiction under the Rivers, Lakes, and Streams Act. Requires the Department, after consulting with the Illinois State Board of Education, to institute an educational program that meets certain requirements. Requires the Department to (i) notify the public about the Act's prohibitions; (ii) enforce the Act; (iii) confiscate, under certain circumstances, lead jigs or lead sinkers that it finds in the course of enforcing the Act; and (iv) suspend, for not more than 6 months, the hunting and fishing privileges of a person who uses a lead sinker or lead jig to take fish in violation of the Act. Provides fines for violations. Effective one year after becoming law.





I have statistics that I'll post soon regarding lead, fishing and bans historically across the country.

I put a whole package together, anticipating their call.


More to come in this thread, much more......

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From "The Straight Dope".....


Two things you might find surprising: First, lead fishing weights have a long history--the Egyptians used lead net sinkers 5,000-7,000 years ago (reference 2). Second, perhaps the greatest danger posed by lead fishing tackle is neither to fish nor humans, but to birds.


The effect of lead shotgun shot on the environment has been studied for some time. Large die-offs of waterfowl due to lead poisoning were first reported in the late 1800s (reference 5) and continued through the next century, eventually prompting the 1991 Federal ban on the use of lead shot in hunting. However, the impact of lead fishing tackle has not been as well studied, perhaps due to the belief that the enormous amount of lead shot put into the environment by hunters far outweighed any impact from fishing. According to research by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published in the mid-1980s, about 3,000 tons of lead shot were discharged by hunters into the environment annually (reference 4). Reference 2 claims the amount is even larger:


Several million hunters are estimated to deposit more than 6,000 metric tons of Pb shot annually into lakes, marshes, and estuaries; this represents about 6,440 pellets per bird bagged. Shot densities as great as 860,000 pellets/ha (2,124,000/acre) have been estimated in some locations (Wobeser 1981), although concentrations of 34,000 to 140,000/ha are more common (Longcore et al. 1982; Driver and Kendall 1984).


That sounds like a lot, but is it really that much more than the number of lead sinkers entering the environment each year? Determining that figure is a daunting task, as no really good accounting or survey information seems to exist. However, I was astonished to find the EPA noting in 1994 that:


It is estimated that approximately 2,500 metric tons of lead, zinc, and brass sinkers (over 98 percent of the volume represented by lead), an estimated 480 million sinkers, are manufactured each year in the United States (reference 1).


Reference 5 cites a figure of 2,700 tons of lead sinkers made per year in the United States, adding that "400-550 tons" of lead sinkers are made in Canada each year (500 according to reference 7). Unless the number of sports fishers is rising steadily, people are starting large lead sinker collections, or an underground economy of mole people is using them as currency, it's safe to assume that a large portion of these represent replacements for sinkers lost during fishing. If the figures are accurate, we're talking about perhaps 3,000 tons of lead per year entering the waterways of the U.S. and Canada. In other words, an amount not too far from that contributed by lead shot before 1991.


With that much lead entering the water, one would think that there would be many reported cases of large-scale fish die-offs due to lead sinkers. That doesn't seem to be the case, although die-offs due to exposure to other concentrated sources of lead such as mine tailings have been reported (reference 2). The total amount of lead entering the aquatic environment is substantial--in addition to fishing weights and mine tailings, sources of the metal include air pollution, batteries, and lead shot from target ranges. Unlike some other toxins, lead doesn't appear to bioaccumulate in the food chains of freshwater aquatic vertebrates--i.e., you don't find progressively greater amounts of lead as you move up the predator hierarchy due to big fish eating little fish. Such concentration as there is seems to be a function of the age of the organism, with lead concentrating in "hard tissues such as bone and teeth (Eisler 1981, 1984)" (reference 2). The primary biological effects on fish seem to be anemia, depressed blood enzyme levels, growth inhibition in young, and kidney and liver damage (reference 2).


It turns out that the form of wildlife primarily at risk from lead poisoning due to fish sinkers is waterfowl, not fish. This stems from the birds' habit of eating smaller sinkers (especially the "split-shot" type) to use as grit in their gizzards, where they pulverize hard-to-digest items such as seeds. As the sinkers are ground along with sand and rocks, the lead is released into their bodies in concentrated form, leading to debilitation and death. It's estimated that perhaps 2% of all waterfowl die per year as a result of ingesting lead shot and other lead objects. In England, the mute swan suffers greatly from ingestion of lost fishing sinkers--one study in 1982 reported that half of all mute swan deaths in England were a result of lead poisoning. Many varieties of geese, ducks, and cranes as well as non-waterfowl such as the mourning dove and others have been studied and shown to have suffered from lead poisoning due to fishing sinkers as well.


The case of the loon is perhaps the most telling in North America, and responsible for much of the push for legislation banning lead fishing sinkers. According to reference 5:


In New England, poisoning from lead weights and jigs is the greatest source of loon mortality, accounting for 50% of adult deaths (Pokras and Chafel 1992). Likewise, in Canada, 30% of adult loon mortality is due to lead poisoning resulting from sinker ingestion (Scheuhammer and Norris 1996). Ensor et al. (1992) found that 17% of adult loon deaths in Minnesota could be traced to lead poisoning from fishing tackle.


In addition, reference 1 notes:


A 2.5 year study of mortalities of common loons in New England found that lead toxicity from ingested fishing sinkers was the most common cause of death in adult breeding birds ... The study reported that 64 percent of adult common loons (Gavia immer) received for analysis from New Hampshire, and 44 percent of adults received from Maine, had ingested fishing sinkers. Thirty-one adults were examined, and of these, 16 (52 percent) were shown to have died from lead poisoning ... Levels of lead found in the blood of loons that had ingested sinkers averaged 1.4 ppm. The study indicated that scientists consider 0.35 to 0.60 ppm lead in the blood to be indicative of lead poisoning in many species. Levels of lead in the livers of 4 loons that had lead sinkers in their gizzards ranged from 5.03 to 18.0 ppm, while levels in 10 loons that did not have fishing sinkers in their gizzards ranged from <0.05 to 0.11 ppm. The study also states that 5 or 6 ppm in the liver is considered a toxic level in waterbirds. Toxic effects of lead to loons were found to be similar to those seen in other waterbirds.


Sadly, the potential damage to wildlife from environmental lead doesn't end there. Raptors such as the American bald eagle, Andean condor, honey buzzard, king vulture, and California condor can suffer from secondary lead poisoning after eating contaminated fish or waterfowl. Most secondary contamination of predators, it should be said, derives from ingestion of lead shot; many of the lead pellets and pieces from lead sinkers pass harmlessly through the digestive systems of predators or are regurgitated. However, documented cases of poisoning from lead fishing sinkers do exist (reference 1).


Bans on certain types of lead fishing sinkers have been imposed in some areas. New Hampshire has enacted a multi-step ban that will ban all fishing weights of less than one ounce by 2006 (reference 3). New York, Vermont, and Maine ban the sale of lead fishing weights weighing one-half ounce or less (references 9, 10, 11). Canada bans use of lead sinkers weighing less than 50 grams (1.76 ounce), and the UK Environment Agency says, "No fishing weights made of lead may be used except those of 0.06 grams or less and those of more than 28.35 grams" (from 0.002 ounce to 1 ounce). Most U.S. bans affect only the sale of new fishing sinkers, not the use of existing ones. Home manufacture of sinkers is also not prohibited; according to the EPA, "It is estimated that between 0.8 and 1.6 million anglers may produce their own lead sinkers" (reference 1).




1. USEPA 1994. Lead Fishing Sinkers: Response to Citizens' Petition and Proposed Ban, Proposed Rule. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

2. Eisler, Ronald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Lead Hazards to Fish, Wildlife, and Invertebrates: A Synoptic Review." Biological Report 85(1.14), Contaminant Hazard Reviews, April 1988.

3. New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/get_the_lead_out.htm.

4. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1986. "Migratory bird hunting; availability of a final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on the use of lead shot for hunting migratory birds in United States." Federal Register 51(124):23443-23447; also US Fish and Wildlife Service. 1987. "Migratory bird hunting; zones in which lead shot will be prohibited for the taking of waterfowl, coots and certain other species in the 1987-88 hunting season." Federal Register 52(139):27352-27368.

5. Sanborn, Wendy. "Lead Poisoning of North American Wildlife from Lead Shot and Lead Fishing Tackle."

6. Sidor, Inga F., Pokras, Mark A., Major, Andrew R., Poppenga, Robert H., Taylor, Kate M. Miconia, Rose M. "Mortality of Common Loons in New England, 1987 to 2000." Journal of Wildlife Diseases, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 306-315.

7. Scheuhammer, A.M., Money, S.L., Kirk, D.A., Donaldson, G. "Lead fishing sinkers and jigs in Canada: Review of their use patterns and toxic impacts on wildlife." Occasional Paper Number 108, Canadian Wildlife Service, March 2003.

8. Scheuhammer, A.M., Norris, S.L. "A review of environmental impacts of lead shotshell ammunition and lead fishing weights in Canada." Occasional Paper Number 88, Canadian Wildlife Service, August 1995.

9. Vermont Statutes, Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 4606(g) and Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 4614.

10. Maine Statutes, Title 12: Conservation, Part 13: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Subpart 4: Fish and Wildlife, Subchapter 5: Unlawful Fishing Methods, §12663: Unlawful sale of lead sinkers.

11. State of New York Environmental Conservation Law, Section 11-0308.


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Most U.S. bans affect only the sale of new fishing sinkers, not the use of existing ones. Home manufacture of sinkers is also not prohibited; according to the EPA, "It is estimated that between 0.8 and 1.6 million anglers may produce their own lead sinkers" (reference 1).


These provisions are not listed in the Illinois proposal.


Why is that?


Clearly, this is not about saving fish from your dreaded sinkers.


Then what is it about, exactly?

That's what we need to get to the bottom of.


Pass this along on all your favorite sites and share it with other clubs as you see fit.

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The full text of this bill can be reviewed here:


Bill - full text


Read the wording carefully and it will become apparent that this is right out of the animal rights radicals play book. Some of the wording is very misleading.


Along with hunting, trapping, and other consumptive usage, they have now come for our fishing.


Here is an example of another bill dubbed the "puppy mill" bill HB0198 from the animal rights folks (HSUS).


Bill - Synopsis


Note all the NE Illinois legislators that have signed up in support.


Here is a video that gives a good idea of how they operate:


Chicago Tribune Video


Some serious resources need to be aligned thru the spring legislative session until the threat is gone.





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Section 25. Educational program.

8 (a) To discourage the use of lead, the Department, after

9 consulting with the Illinois State Board of Education, shall,

10 within one year after the effective date of this Act, institute

11 an educational program that provides all of the following:

12 (1) Press releases, articles, or both for distribution

13 to the news media;

14 (2) An informational brochure for distribution at

15 training programs sponsored by the Department;

16 (3) Informational videos for use by television

17 outlets;

18 (4) Informational posters for posting at boat-access

19 kiosks and on bulletin boards;

20 (5) A mobile display for use at public events; and

21 (6) Any other educational tool or information that the

22 Department may find useful in its efforts to educate the

23 public about the hazards associated with the use of lead

24 products.


How do you suppose all of that "education" would get funded??

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Just a little update on this story.

I spoke with Senator Stean's staff today, and they cannot stress strongly enough that it is NOT a PETA- driven agenda.

It is simply about saving birds that die as a result of ingesting sinkers.

We will be sitting down to discuss the matter in the near future to see how we might tone it down on some provisions.

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Just a little update on this story.

I spoke with Senator Stean's staff today, and they cannot stress strongly enough that it is NOT a PETA- driven agenda.

It is simply about saving birds that die as a result of ingesting sinkers.

We will be sitting down to discuss the matter in the near future to see how we might tone it down on some provisions.

If they're not driving the agenda now I bet they get behind the wheel sooner or later re any attempt to tone down any provisions. It's a perfect platform for their extreme antifishing agenda.

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At this point, I'm rather comfortable that it's about the birds.

There is dialogue, and they are extremely receptive to our input.

I've already brought a ton of statistics and an informed decision to the table.


That's where we'll start- with a professional approach.


As an aside, it seems everywhere this is being discussed sporstmen are tearing each other to shreds with varying viewpoints. We won't let it get that bad.

We're at square one- open dialogue with the bill's sponsor.

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If need be I have some thoughts on different angles for building oppostion to the bill. Some ecomonic things to be considered.

I rolled all of that out, as a matter of fact.

IL alone:

22,000 jobs supported

$3.3 Million a DAY spent

$1.2 Billion a year


Have a whole package put together for discussion.

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During the 2002-03 session in Minnesota, the state Legislature considered banning the sale and use of lead tackle. But after a series of stakeholder discussions, the groups involved agreed that a better approach was to educate anglers about the alternatives to lead tackle and to offer opportunities to try out non-lead sinkers and jigs. This effort is supported by the cooperation of tackle manufacturers, retailers, lake associations, conservation organizations, sports enthusiasts, and government.



Education: Get the Lead Out!

Lead tackle exchange events-

Another season of tackle exchanges is complete. Over 500 pounds of lead was collected for recycling at 20 events throughout the state, from Grand Marais to Fairmont, including retailers and bait shops and special events. Anglers were able to get samples of nonlead tackle in trade, and hundreds were educated on the dangers that lead poses to people and wildlife.


Taken from:


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I recently noticed that Wal-Mart has done away with 90% of their lead sinkers, and are replacing them with something that I can only guess is aluminum (I don't think it's tin. It's too light, AND cheap)? They are nearly half the weight of lead for their size. Also, regarding the substitution of tungsten for lead....it's EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE! If Gander Mountain hasn't done the same as Wal-Mart, I'm going to stock up this Friday!!


BTW, what do you suppose would happen if this passes? Will BPS, and Cabela's catalogs stop coming in the mail? Would they not ship anything containing lead to Illinois? What would stop people from driving to neighboring states and buying is there? Would people be treated the same as someone transporting illegal drugs?

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Not to change the subject but another piece of fishing equipment that will likely be eliminated in the near future is felt sole boots due to their ability to transfer microrganisms from stream -stream.A sticky type of rubber such as the Aquastealth pioneered by LLBean will be the likely replacement. If traction isn't as good studs will be a must.

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Just for clarification, the definition of lead head jigs in the bill are jigs that are less than 1 1/2 inches long. Jonn Grahams jigs, & Charlie Brewer slider heads are longer than that and are not targeted by the bill.

I've been finding the same thing today.

We might look at that a little more closely.

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Nick carr at the Trading Post in Altorff has been researching this lead ban/alternative metals since he heard about it.


One thing I find interesting he told me about was that lead jigs and I believe it was bismuth jigs look the same. The only way to distinguish them in the field was with a device he said was called a lead gun. This device he told me costs about $800 a piece. How many CPO's do we have ?


If this is accurate it looks like more funding issues for the IDNR.

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ISA President Don Rego and myself met with Senator Steans today at a restaurant overlooking the Kankakee River to discuss the original bill that was presented.

The conversation was engaging, informative and focused on a common regard for the natural resources in Illinois held by our group and the Senator.


If there were any misconceptions on the intent of the bill, or the reasons it was produced, we can say with a great deal of certainty that a genuine concern for the overall well-being for wildlife, people and the resource was always the motivating factor.


I'm pleased to say that many of the original components are being reconsidered and/or rescinded in order to focus on a strong educational approach as to the dangers of lead.

The ISA will be a contributor to this educational approach on various levels, and follow the recommendations that are forthcoming from the IDNR and stakeholder groups that have provided valuable input into a serious issue with varying degrees of opinions and approaches.


Thanks to all of the comments here and on various blogs/message boards, the Senator has been able to get a clear picture of what is important to the sportsmen and women of Illinois.

Given the chance to take a pro-active stance on reducing the dangers of lead, it has become apparent that a usergroup that contributes $3.3 Million every single day to the economy in this state will take a serious look at traditional fishing methods and consider how we all might come together and make sound choices regarding an environment we all depend on for the future of our sport and the well-being of the wildlife that inhabit our watersheds.

We asked for the opportunity to take a chance at proving our devotion to these concerns as anglers and citizens, and that chance has been granted.


It wasn't long ago that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to have a seat at the table in determining policy that affects the rivers and streams we choose to spend a great deal of time among, but a new administration with a history of environmental stewardship has paved the way for every voice to be heard and recognized.

We have many reasons to be thankful and appreciative for a change.

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