Banning lead in NY
Governor's press release, which seems to be a solid step in the right direction.
<<Law to Protect Waterfowl from Toxic Materials Contained in Fishing Devices
Governor George E. Pataki today signed into law a measure that will ban the sale of lead fish sinkers in New York State, helping to prevent waterbirds from being injured or killed from exposure to these potentially-toxic materials.
"The toxic effects of lead sinkers are a threat to waterfowl, especially loons, and these new restrictions will help protect birds and other wildlife," Governor Pataki said. "Fishing is a popular sport in all areas of New York and this law will promote responsible fishing through the use of non-toxic sinkers."
The law bans retail sales of lead fishing sinkers weighing one-half ounce or less. In addition, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be required to provide notice of this new ban in the annual State Fishing Guide.
Fishing sinkers are small devices anglers often attach to a fishing line to sink the line below the surface of the water. Lead sinkers that are lost or become detached from a fishing line, especially smaller split-shot types, are often mistaken for food or grit by waterbirds such as ducks, geese, swans, gulls and loons. Birds ingesting lead sinkers may become sick or die from lead poisoning, or may act strangely due to toxic effects of the shot, increasing their risk of death from exposure or predators.
For the past several years, DEC has notified anglers of the potential threat to waterfowl from the use of lead sinkers and the availability of non-lead alternatives.
Howard Cushing, president, New York State Conservation League, said, "Sportsmen and women strongly support this measure to prevent waterfowl and other wildlife from being accidently injured by lead sinkers. By banning lead sinkers at the point of sale, this will allow stakeholders to pick up and recycle any lead sinkers they find on shores without violating the law. We were pleased to work with the Audubon Society, the State Department of Environmental Conservation and other concerned groups on this issue and reach a consensus that addresses the problem of lead sinkers."
Bernard C. Melewski, acting executive director of the Adirondack Council said, "This new law is a triumph of cooperation between environmentalists, anglers and committed lawmakers, all of whom were needed to secure the Legislature's and Governor's approval for the lead sinker ban. Working together, we will have saved the lives of thousands of loons, herons, swans, geese and other water birds by the end of the decade, and thousands more as the generations pass. This small, well-timed change in the law will have a permanent, profoundly positive impact on the environment."
DEC Commissioner Crotty said, "Governor Pataki and the State Legislature have taken a critical step to protect waterfowl from dangers of lead sinkers. By using non-toxic sinkers, anglers of all ages will still be able to enjoy fishing in a manner that does not harm our environment."
Many of New York's neighboring states also banned the sale and/or use of lead sinkers, which is expected to limit the availability of these sinkers and promote production and sale of non-lead alternatives. >>