Loons & Lead Legislative History

A Brief History of Legislation to Protect Wildlife from Lead

Lead Shot Legislation:

1991 Lead shot banned by federal government for waterfowl hunting in all 50 states (enacted in 1986 for implementation by 1991).
1999 Lead shot banned in waterfowl hunting in Canada.

Lead Fishing Gear Legislation:

1987 Lead sinkers (1 ounce or less) are banned in Great Britain.
1994 EPA proposes nationwide ban of lead sinkers. This effort failed after opposition from sporting groups.
1995 Fish and Wildlife Service bans use of lead sinkers in National Wildlife Refuges where there is reasonable likelihood of an adverse impact on trumpeter swans or common loons. These include Red Rock Lakes NWR in Lima, Montana, National Elk NWR in Jackson, Wyoming, Seney NWR in Seney, Michigan as well as Yellowstone National Park.
1997 Environment Canada and Parks Canada prohibit possession of lead sinkers and jigs (1.8 ounce or less) in National Wildlife Areas and National Parks.
2000 New Hampshire restricts use of all lead sinkers weighing 1 ounce or less and jigs less than 1 inch along longest axis in freshwater lakes and ponds.
2000 Massachusetts Fisheries & Wildlife Board prohibits the use of all lead sinkers in Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, the loons’ primary habitat in the state.
2001 California requires toxicity warning on lead sinker sales: “This product contains lead, a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.”
2002 Maine bans all sales of lead sinkers weighing half an ounce or less.
2002 Denmark prohibits import and marketing of most products containing lead in 2000 with lead products for fishing specifically banned in 2002.
2004 New York restricts the use of lead sinkers weighing half an ounce or less.
2005 New Hampshire restricts the use of lead sinkers (one ounce or less) and lead jigs (less   than one inch in length including the hook) in all freshwater (rivers were excluded from previous legislation).
2006 The sale of lead sinkers (one ounce or less) is restricted.
2006 Vermont restricts the sale of lead sinkers less than half an ounce, and use of these sinkers as of 2007.
2012 Massachusetts restricts the use of jigs and sinkers less than 1 oz.
2013 Maine restricts the sale and use of sinkers 1 ounce or less.
2016 Maine restricts the sale of bare lead-headed jigs 2.5” or less.  The use of these jigs will be restricted in September 2017.
2016 New Hampshire restricts the sale and freshwater use of lead fishing sinkers and jigs   weighing 1 ounce or less (previous legislation restricted jigs only 1” or less in length including the hook).  Click here to see the report that LPC sent to the NH State Legislature

The Voice of the Loon

Loons have four distinct calls which they use to communicate with their families and other loons; these are the tremolo, wail, yodel and hoot.