Harry Vogel, Loon Preservation Committee: (603) 476-5666
Mark Beauchesne, NH Fish & Game Department: (603) 271-6355
August 17, 2018
MOULTONBOROUGH, NH — In response to a second straight year of high loon mortality from ingested lead (Pb) fishing tackle, the Loon Preservation Committee and New Hampshire Fish and Game are doubling incentives for anglers to switch to non-toxic tackle through their lead tackle buy-back program.
From now through Labor Day (September 3) or until the initial 200 certificates are claimed, anglers can now exchange one ounce or more of banned tackle (jigs and sinkers) for $20 in gift certificates redeemable at the shops participating in the pilot program:
- AJ’s Tackle at 8 Maple St, Meredith, NH; and
- The Tackle Shack at 894 NH-103, Newbury, NH
Only banned tackle is eligible for exchange as part of the buy-back program. One exchange is permitted per customer.
The Loon Preservation Committee and New Hampshire Fish and Game again want to remind anglers about the ban on the use of lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less that went into effect June 1, 2016 for all freshwater in the state.
In 2017, a total of eight loons were confirmed dead after ingesting lead sinkers and jigs up to 1.3 ounces. These loons were discovered on lakes or ponds across the state in Alton, Auburn, Danbury, Franklin, Moultonborough, Pittsburg and Sunapee.
Another six loons have died so far in 2018 as a result of lead poisoning. One other loon underwent a procedure to remove lead tackle and was rehabilitated and released, but faces an uncertain future. At least four of the loons had associated tackle (hooks, line, etc.) indicating that ingested tackle was likely from current fishing activity and not from old tackle on the bottom. A loon will die from lead poisoning approximately two to four weeks after ingesting lead fishing tackle.
To address this issue and help anglers dispose of lead sinkers and jigs they can no longer use, the Loon Preservation Committee and NH Fish & Game Department teamed up with the two local tackle shops to launch the lead tackle buy-back pilot program this spring.
The Loon Preservation Committee and New Hampshire Fish & Game Department are working cooperatively with many other organizations to educate anglers about the effects of lead poisoning on loons. Fish Lead Free (www.fishleadfree.org), is a multi-partner, region-wide initiative dedicated to providing resources for anglers across New England to help them make the switch to lead-free tackle. Safe alternatives to lead tackle, made of steel, tungsten, tin, bismuth and many other materials, are effective and readily available. Learn more tips and tactics for fishing lead free at www.wildnh.com/fishing/get-the-lead-out.html. Collection receptacles for old lead tackle can be found at all New Hampshire Fish and Game offices, at The Loon Center in Moultonborough, at the NH Lakes Association office in Concord, and at several transfer stations.
The Loon Preservation Committee (www.loon.org) works to protect loons throughout the state as part of its mission to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons in New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (www.wildnh.com) works in partnership with the public to conserve, manage, and protect the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats; inform and educate the public about these resources; and provide the public with opportunities to use and appreciate these resources.