MAINE MAY BAN LEAD SINKERS FOR LOONS
To protect loons, Maine is considering banning lead sinkers.
Maine SB 268 will be heard in the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on Thursday, April 11, at 9:00 a.m. SB 268, introduced by Senator Anne Haskell, would make it illegal to sell or use lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less, and measuring 2.5 inches or less in length.
The primary concern surrounding the use of lead sinkers and jigs is the potential effects on waterfowl, like the loon, that ingest whole pebbles to aid in the digestion of their food.
Although there have been documented individual loon deaths linked directly to lead fishing sinkers, there has been no documented evidence that lead fishing sinkers, of any size, have a detrimental impact on local or regional loon populations. In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, loon populations are either stable or are increasing across the nation.
According to critics of the bill, imposing additional restrictions on the use of lead sinkers in Maine is not biologically justified, would place an undue economic burden on the anglers who fish Maine's waters, and would supersede the long-standing authority of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife - the recognized fish and wildlife experts for the state of Maine - to manage the state's fish and wildlife resources.