Maine Audubon provides lead-free products and lead-tackle recycling assistance for anglers and builds awareness of Maine’s current lead tackle laws.
The goal of the Fish Lead-Free campaign is to increase the use of lead-free tackle on Maine’s lakes and ponds. The campaign sets up tackle exchanges across the state, delivers multi-media presentations, and serves as a resource for anglers looking to transition to lead-free tackle.
Do you have an organization or community group that wants to help keep lead out of Maine lakes and ponds? Email us or call 207.781.2330 x216.
Background: 2013 Lead Tackle Legislation
In 2013, the Maine State Legislature passed LD 730, An Act to Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs. The law bans the sale and use of lead fishing sinkers one ounce or less. A ban on bare lead-headed jigs 2.5” long or less was phased in, with a ban on sale starting September 2016 and a ban on use in September 2017.
The passage of the law was prompted by findings that lead poisoning from lead sinkers and lead-headed jigs is the leading cause of death of adult loons in Maine. It is responsible for close to one third of the documented mortality over the past 25 years. For every two loons that die in Maine from natural causes like illness or disease, one loon dies from ingesting a small lead sinker or jig-head. Adult loons catch fish with lead sinkers and jigs attached or they pick up lead objects while eating gravel they need from lake bottoms.
Fish Lead-Free is a cooperative partnership between Maine Audubon, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine BASS Nation, Make Lakes Society and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.