June 22, 2023
In response to today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announcement to proceed with prohibitions on lead fishing tackle throughout several national wildlife refuges in which hunting and fishing opportunities are being expanded, ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard released the following statement:
“While we appreciate USFWS’s focus on expanding fishing access for the nation’s 52 million anglers, it is deeply disappointing to see the continuation of baseless and harmful restrictions on the types of tackle they can use. As we have stated in our industry position statement, restrictions on lead fishing tackle must be based on sound science documenting that lead tackle has an impact on specific wildlife populations and developed in conjunction with state fish and wildlife agencies. We have repeatedly sought that evidence from USFWS but have yet to receive it.
It is also concerning that USFWS is coordinating with states and the hunting community on this issue but has not initiated any such consultation with the $148 billion sportfishing industry. Although we hope USFWS will work with us on a path forward that allows continued access for sportsmen with science as the driving factor for management decisions, this latest action reinforces the need for the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act (H.R. 615, S. 1185) to ensure best management practices are followed.”