MOULTONBOROUGH, NH – The Loon Preservation Committee and New Hampshire Fish and Game 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. The Loon Preservation Committee has recorded five cases of lead poisoned loons from ingested lead fishing tackle this year. Four of the poisoned loons died despite concerted efforts to save them, while the fifth, released after removal of the lead and rehabilitation, faces an uncertain future.
loons-lpcIt is early in the season to have this many lead poisoned loons. July and August are historically the months when lead poisoned loons are most often found. At least three 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.
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. 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 have teamed up with two local tackle shops to offer a lead tackle buy-back program. From now through Labor Day (September 3), or until the initial 200 certificates are claimed, anglers can exchange one ounce or more of banned tackle (jigs and sinkers) for a $10 gift certificate redeemable at the participating shops: AJ’s Tackle (Meredith, NH), and The Tackle Shack (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 & 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.