New Law Limits Lead in Fishing Gear 

A new law will limit the use of lead fishing lures in Maine to help protect loons. Danielle D’Auria is a biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, “about 30% of the adult loons that are dying, that are dying due to lead ingestion,” she said. The law increases current restrictions on lead gear. Now the sale and use of any lead sinker 1 oz. or smaller is illegal. The law also bans lead jigs.Jim Snow at Van Raymond Outfitter in Brewer says the new law won’t impact their business very much, “because of the fact that there’s been a law in effect for several years, it may not have as big an impact as it may have if this were some immediate change that was brand new that we hadn’t seen before,” he said.State biologists say the law is needed, because loons are still dying.“They may pick up a piece of lead… this is the lead head of either a jig or spinner of some sort that was found in the crop of this loon that likely died from lead poisoning,” D’Auira explained, while showing a dead loon.While the new law won’t take hold for a few years, fishermen are already concerned about its effects on them.Christ Steiner has been fishing for twenty years, and says he sees no need for the law, “the legislation seems more to be anti-fishing than it does to be loon preservation. I mean I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen more loons now than I did ten to fifteen years ago on the lakes,” Steiner said. Lead lures are less common on shelves, and these days many are made with tungsten or steel, but Steiner says he can’t afford these alternatives, “if we have to go to using tungsten for jigs and things like that the cost is going to rise dramatically for us, I mean they’re expensive as it is.”