Harry Vogel, Loon Preservation Committee: (603) 476-5666
Sandi Houghton, NH Fish and Game Department: (603) 271-5679
June 14, 2019
Buyback Program to Help Anglers Switch from Toxic Lead Fishing Tackle Runs Through Labor Day
MOULTONBOROUGH, NH – The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) want to remind anglers about the ban on lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less for all freshwater in the state. The Loon Preservation Committee has already recorded two cases of lead-poisoned loons this year.
In 2018, a total of eight loons were confirmed dead after ingesting lead sinkers and jigs up to 1.03 ounces. These loons were discovered on lakes or ponds across the state in Bristol (2), Conway, Dublin, Meredith, Moultonborough, and New London. One bird from a breeding pair on Squam Lake was recovered from the ocean on November 30, 2018. A loon will die from lead poisoning approximately two to four weeks after ingesting lead.
To address this issue and help anglers dispose of lead sinkers and jigs they can no longer use, the LPC and NHFG have teamed up with eight local tackle shops to offer a lead tackle buyback program. From now through Labor Day (September 2), or until the initial 1,200 certificates are claimed, anglers can exchange one ounce or more of banned tackle (jigs and sinkers) for a $10 gift certificate redeemable at these participating shops: AJ’s Tackle (Meredith, NH), The Tackle Shack (Newbury, NH), Clarke’s Hardware (New London, NH), LL Cote (Errol, NH), Newfound Sales and Trading Post (Bristol, NH), Ossipee’s Bait and Tackle (Effingham, NH), Pawtuckaway Trading Post (Raymond, NH), and Squam Boat Livery, Inc. (Holderness, NH). Only banned tackle is eligible for exchange as part of the buyback program. One exchange is permitted per customer. Full details of the buyback and participating shops can be found at www.loonsafe.org. The list will be updated as new retailers join the program.
The LPC and NHFG are working cooperatively with many other organizations to educate anglers about the effects of lead poisoning on loons. Fish Lead Free is a multipartner, 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 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 numerous transfer stations. An interactive map of disposal sites is available at www.loonsafe.org/shops-and-disposal-sites.
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.