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ASA criticizes late Obama policy on lead fishing tackle

The American Sportfishing Association is angry about a last-minute order by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The American Sportfishing Association is angry about a last-minute order by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Obama that seeks to phase out lead fishing tackle on public lands during the next five years.

Director’s order No. 219 will “require the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service lands, waters and facilities by January 2022, except as needed for law enforcement or health and safety uses, as provided for in policy.”

“The sportfishing industry views this unilateral policy to ban lead fishing tackle, which was developed without any input from the industry, other angling organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies, as a complete disregard for the economic and social impact it will have on anglers and the recreational fishing industry,” ASA vice president of government affairs Scott Gudes said in a statement.

Gudes said that in the “limited instances” in which lead fishing tackle “is demonstrated to harm local wildlife populations,” the sportfishing industry supports actions to minimize or eliminate these effects.

“However, unnecessary and sweeping bans such as this director’s order will do nothing to benefit wildlife populations and instead will penalize the nation’s 46 million anglers and hurt recreational fishing-dependent jobs,” Gudes said.

“A sound, science-driven and durable policy could’ve been crafted with input from industry and the broader recreational fishing community. We are hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will repeal this director’s order and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.”

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