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Ban lead tackle? More California dreamin’

A push to “get the lead out” in California will negatively impact conservation there, while the San Diego International Boat Show is set to have a positive impact on the Southern California marketplace.

How do I put this so as not to offend the sensibilities of some in the State of California?

Will you people wake up?!!? Ah, probably too subtle?

A new report by the California Coastal Conservation Association and the American Sportfishing Association clearly quantifies for all to see the negative economic impact that banning traditional lead fishing tackle will have on the millions of dollars for fisheries conservation in the state. How ironic.

The “Effects on the Ban on Traditional-Based Tackle for Fishing in California on Angler Participation and Associated Economic Measures,” surveyed anglers and manufactures. It details the economic issues of a proposal to require California anglers to switch to non-lead tackle, for example, tungsten and tin. But lead is by far the most prevalent, economical and best-performing option for terminal tackle. Moreover, any ban on lead tackle is not based on science. So anglers and conservation programs would be the losers. Here’s why:

Sportfishing is an important economic generator for California. Banning lead tackle would increase the cost of fishing, essentially doubling the cost of lures, flies and terminal tackle if made with lead substitutes. Everyone knows as prices rise, participation drops. So, if prices double, the report conservatively projects about 5 percent of anglers would leave the sport. That’s nearly 80,000 fishermen.

In addition, some anglers would fish less because of the cost and, combined with those leaving the sport, would reduce total California angler days and expenditures by two million fewer angler days and $173 million in lost revenues. There’s much more in the report that also looks at tax revenues and job details.

“This report shows that, in addition to the direct economic losses to recreational fishing-dependent businesses, fish and wildlife conservation programs in California would suffer,” ASA vice president for government affairs Scott Gudes says. “It is anglers who pay for California’s fishery conservation programs through fishing tackle excise taxes and license fees.”

Hey, California, it’s time to stop trying to regulate what’s in a fisherman’s tackle box.

While some in California deserve their own bobbleheads to commemorate fiscal folly, the good news is the Progressive San Diego International Boat Show is set to open June 18 for a four-day run and it’s expected to generate strong sales in the Southern California market.

According to NMMA West vice president Dave Geoffroy, there will be lots of new things besides the boats. “We’ve seen an increase in demand for exhibit space that started at our Los Angeles show last February. Boat sales are steadily increasing here on the West Coast and that’s being reflected in this show,” he noted.

While the San Diego event is primarily built around larger boats (the Super Yacht Association is directly involved), Geoffroy points out the overall show is designed to be an interactive event for all boaters. In addition to all-new aluminum docks just completed, the show will boast a lineup of skills training sessions, paddleboarding hands-on opportunities and sailing seminars, among others, to engage the audience.

Another great aspect is the participation of the Mexican Tourism Board. It will feature eight Mexican marinas and a series of seminars about cruising Mexican waters. Also interesting is that the show on Harbor Island is across the street from the San Diego airport. Many show-goers fly in from Arizona and many keep boats in San Diego, spending the summers aboard to escape the Arizona heat.

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