Fishing Tackle Ban Update

STATEWIDE — California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced last month it is seeking public comment through Oct. 23 on its Safer Consumer Products program, which identifies certain manufacturers to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals found in retail items such as lead fishing tackle.

The department published a draft Alternatives Analysis document to seek public input of what approaches and methods DTSC could enact to fine tune its Safer Consumer Products program.

DTSC outlined a handful of priority products and chemicals of concern in its Safer Consumer Products Final Priority Product Work Plan, which was released April 15. Fishing and angling equipment were included on the work plan’s list.

Other items on the list were personal care and hygiene products, building and household products, office furniture, cleaning products, clothing and office machinery.

“Of particular concern are products such as fishing weights and sinkers made from lead that are used to add weight to a fishing line, lure, or hook,” DTSC staff stated in its 2015-17 Priority Product Work Plan. “Lead poisoning associated with the ingestion of lead fishing weights has been well documented in a variety of bird and animal species around the world, including swans, waterfowl, gulls, turtles, cranes, herons, and pelicans. We are most concerned about fishing weights and gear that might be consumed by water fowl due to characteristics of size, shape and density.”

California Sportfishing League counsel Maureen F. Gorsen penned a letter to DTSC on Sept. 3 and stated the inclusion of fishing gear in the state’s Priority Product Work Plan was not guided by proper policy, lacked sufficient public input and would adversely harm distributors, manufacturers and distributors.

“The process that produced the Work Plan lacked meaningful public notice or input, and was guided by undisclosed and unsubstantiated policies,” Gorsen stated in her Sept. 3 letter to DTSC. “The consequence of selection as a priority product is severe. Out-of-California manufacturers may no longer serve the state, given the potentially major cost with providing California-unique products.

“Even if viable alternative product designs are developed, they may be too costly for manufacturers to serve the state, and if they do, the cost of fishing equipment could rise significantly and affect many recreational fishermen,” Gorsen continued.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied in 2012 a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity where the nonprofit requested issue a rulemaking to protect wildlife species from ingesting lead-based fishing tackles.

EPA officials claimed state and federal officials have already enacted a mix of education and regulatory actions to address how lead-based fishing tackle impacts local environments.

“EPA also recognizes that the market for fishing tackle and equipment continues to change and that the prevalence of non-lead alternatives in the marketplace continues to increase,” EPA Acting Assistant Administrator James Jones stated in his 2012 rejection letter to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Visit bit.ly/1O0rgI7 to view the draft Alternatives Analysis document or submit a comment.

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