Congress Prohibits Regulation of Lead Fishing Tackle

Alexandria, VA— A provision to prohibit federal funds from being used to regulate lead fishing tackle and ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act was included in the omnibus federal spending bill released yesterday. The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), which strongly supports this action, has been working for the past several years on passage of similar legislation that will provide a permanent exemption for traditional fishing tackle.

“We applaud Congressional leadership, and House and Senate appropriators, for protecting the nation’s 60 million anglers from unjustified restrictions on fishing equipment that anglers have safely used for decades,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “On multiple occasions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been petitioned by anti-fishing organizations to federally ban fishing tackle containing lead based on its impact on wildlife, a position that is not based on sound science.”

Nussman further said, “While the EPA has consistently rejected these petitions, we have advocated all along for a permanent fix to prevent an unnecessary ban from being approved. This temporary legislative fix supports and reinforces the EPA’s previous decisions and will aid us in our efforts toward a permanent solution, hopefully through inclusion in a Sportsmen’s Package bill in the 114th Congress. Continuing efforts to set aside the EPA’s rulings through petitions and lawsuits demonstrate a clear need for a permanent, legislative solution.”

The spending bill’s text exempting lead fishing tackle and ammunition from regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act can be found here. More information on ASA’s continuing efforts against bans on lead fishing tackle can be found on ASA’s issue webpage. The omnibus spending bill, which is a short-term measure to keep the federal government operating for the near future, is expected to be signed into law in the coming days.

[divider]Industry Impact[/divider]

The information above comes to FTR from the American Sportfishing Association, but what other impacts might the action have on our industry?

The industry impact of retaining lead as a common component in fishing tackle is substantial. The current U.S. price for lead of $0.91/lb is considerably cheaper than that of other metals used in lure manufacturing such as tungsten (~$56.48/lb) and brass, which varies on price-point depending on composition. If that price on tungsten seems high, remember tungsten is the second hardest metal in the world and is commonly used in military components and light filaments. Brass is an alloy of copper ($2.90/lb) and zinc ($0.99/lb), and commonly ranges between $1.00-$3.00 per pound.

Keeping lead fishing tackle unregulated should in theory help keep the price of tackle components like lead weights low for consumers and costs associated with those components manageable for manufacturers.