Alexandria, VA –Americans are more conscious than ever about properly disposing of, or recycling plastic containers and other materials. The recreational fishing industry, through KeepAmericaFishing®, its grassroots angler advocacy campaign, is asking anglers to add their worn out soft plastic baits to that list.
The new Pitch It campaign was the direct result of a proposed legislative ban in Maine on the sale and use of soft plastic baits. While legislators were contending that baits discarded in our waterways were harming fish populations, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is not aware of any study done in the wild showing the detrimental impact of soft baits. Years of laboratory tests on soft baits have shown that most fish regurgitate or pass them without harm.
While there are many environmental factors that have an impact on lakes and streams, ASA contends that, regarding soft plastic baits, what really exists is a litter problem. As the voice for the recreational fishing industry, ASA and KeepAmericaFishing developed the Pitch It campaign to address this issue, educate anglers on proper disposal methods, and influence a positive change.
“The genesis of the Pitch It campaign was the potential legislative ban on soft plastic baits, and that is its current focus,” said KeepAmericaFishing Director Liz Ogilvie. “However, we would like to extend the campaign beyond soft plastic baits to address trash of any type littering our nation’s waterways.”
Ogilvie also said that ASA and KeepAmericaFishing believe that building awareness and educating anglers is the appropriate action to stop other states that may consider introducing their own legislative actions.
“Our industry has stepped up to take the initiative to tackle this problem head-on and demonstrate that recreational anglers are – as always – the best stewards of our nation’s waterways,” stressed Ogilvie. “In fact, there is a lot of support from the industry on this issue, but special thanks go to the World Fishing Network, Strike King and angling pro Kevin VanDam who were all significant contributors to getting the campaign off the ground.”
In his January 15, blog post, Pitch It supporter Kevin VanDam said, “There’s no excuse for throwing anything in the water that isn’t going to break down immediately. A crusty sandwich is one thing, but old plastics, fishing line or any tackle should be carried to shore at the end of the day. I encourage you to share this information with other fishermen and convince them to keep damaged plastics in their boats until they get to land where it can be disposed of properly. We have to lead by example.”
The Pitch It microsite on www.KeepAmericaFishing.org not only serves as an educational tool, but it also aims to be a repository for recycling programs across the country. “We are hearing about local tackle shops, clubs and even individuals who have started recycling programs for their local area. It’s important that we list them in one place, so anglers can easily find a repository for their disposable tackle,” noted Ogilvie. “Perhaps people will discover an opportunity right around the corner that they never knew about.”