LPC’s data and testimony regarding the effect of ingested lead fishing tackle on New Hampshire’s loon population resulted in first-in-the-nation legislation to restrict the use of small lead sinkers and jigs on lakes and ponds within New Hampshire in 2000. This was followed by legislation to extend this ban to all freshwaters in New Hampshire beginning in 2005 and restrict the sale of this same tackle beginning in 2006. The most recent legislation, which restricts the sale and freshwater use of all lead sinkers and lead-headed jigs weighing one ounce or less, was passed in 2013. This bill went into effect June 1, 2016 and once again made New Hampshire a leader in safeguarding loons from this avoidable cause of mortality.
Although it is illegal to sell or use lead sinkers and lead headed jigs weighing one ounce or less in New Hampshire, this illegal tackle still persists in many tackle boxes across the state and remains a threat to New Hampshire’s loon population. To address this, LPC has recently launched our LoonSafe initiative. LoonSafe aims to encourage anglers to make the switch to non-lead fishing tackle by partnering with local tackle shops to provide a $10 store voucher to any person who turns in 1 ounce or more of illegal lead tackle. The program also seeks to foster a culture of responsible fishing throughout the state.
LPC is also part of a region-wide initiative of state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations called Fish Lead Free, which is dedicated to providing resources for anglers across New England to help them make the switch to lead free tackle.