Skip to main content

California Moving to Ban Fishing Tackle

DTSC runs roughshod over anglers, despite no scientific Basis

California Moving to Ban Fishing Tackle
(Jeff Phillips photo)

Sacramento, Cali. – The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that common fishing tackle would remain on a list of consumer products marked to undergo a costly and onerous regulatory process, a reckless move that could lead to a ban on most of today’s fishing tackle and will likely accelerate the decline in fishing participation, threaten jobs and reduce state revenue.

DTSC admitted in public hearings that it has no scientific studies demonstrating that lead poses an environmental problem in California. Yet, as evidenced its decision today, DTSC has declared fishing gear to be one of the top seven most significant threats to health faced by Californians and its environment.

“State regulators failed to comply with state law that requires them to conduct an independent analysis before including any product in this regulatory process. The inclusion of fishing tackle will likely harm recreational fishing and the jobs that depend on it,” said David Dickerson, President of the California Sportfishing League. “It appears that politics, rather than science, was the basis for DTSC’s decision. While there are many sources of pollution that pose a serious threat to California’s ocean and streams, anglers are not among them.”

In 2010, the U.S. EPA ruled that lead weights do not pose an unreasonable risk to wildlife and this past December, President Barack Obama signed a budget bill that prohibits the use of federal dollars to ban lead fishing weights.


As revealed in a study recently released by CSL, high costs and unwarranted limitations on fishing have contributed to a major decline in California’s fishing participation rate. While California has one the Nation’s longest coastlines, over 4,000 lakes and reservoirs, 20,000 registered ponds and thousands of miles of streams, the State ranks dead last in the United States for fishing participation. Since 1980, annual fishing license sales have declined by over 55 percent, while California’s population has increased by nearly 60 percent to over 37 million people. If this trend continues, the number of fishing licenses is expected to drop below 500,000 or another 47 percent.


“The high cost of fishing licenses and unwarranted limits on fishing have contributed to a significant decline in participation,” said Dickerson. “Increasing the cost of gear and potential bans will only accelerate the decline, and threaten California jobs that are dependent on outdoor recreation and tourism.”

Experts believe regulations that could follow the DTSC’s assessment will be extremely costly and may encourage manufactures to flee the California market. “

The proposed regulations will increase the likelihood that manufacturers, sellers and retailers of fishing weights and gear will be subjected to costly and onerous regulations, and potential fines,” wrote Maureen Gorsen, an environmental attorney at Alston & Bird LLP and former director of DTSC, in a legal memo. “The result could be a wide range of enforcement options requiring restrictions or bans on sale, product reformulation, additional environmental impact studies, development of disposal programs or funding for fundamental research and development. The bottom line is that the cost of manufacturing fishing gear will increase significantly and these costs will be passed on to consumers.”

BACKGROUND

Anglers can express their objections to new fishing tackle regulations or a potential ban by signing an online petition found on CSL’s website and Facebook page. To date, over 1,900 California anglers have signed the petition.


The Green Chemistry Initiative, under which the DTSC is authorized to regulate potentially dangerous toxins, was established by the State Legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008 to depoliticize the process by which individual products and chemicals were regulated. The law requires DTSC to conduct independent, California specific analysis prior to listing a product for potential regulation. During its September 29, 2014, workshop in Cypress, DTSC officials repeatedly stated that it had not, and would not, conduct required scientific analysis.

Requiring non-lead fishing tackle could require significant and costly changes for the fishing industry. Depending on the alternative metal and current prevailing raw material costs, the cost of fishing gear could increase 10- to 20-fold.

When the Department’s draft Priority Product Work Plan was first released in September, CSL led efforts to have fishing gear removed from the document. The California Chamber of Commerce, the California Travel Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the California Parks Hospitality Association, the California Association for Recreational Fishing, the American Sportfishing Association, Coastside Fishing Club and hundreds of individual anglers all submitted letters in favor of delisting fishing gear.


Recreational fishing contributes over $4.9 billion annually to California’s economy, a major source of outdoor recreation, tourism and jobs.

The California Sportfishing League is a nonprofit coalition of fresh and saltwater anglers, and small business owners devoted to protecting access to recreational fishing, and the leading opponent of additional fishing tackle regulations. To learn more about the threats to recreational fishing visit the “Government Watch” page at www.SportfishingConservation.org.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Simms Flyweight Wader

Simms Flyweight Wader

Constructed of three different kinds of Gore-Tex fabric, the Simms Flyweight Wader is durable, breathable, and features stretch in key areas of movement and stress that happen during a day of wade fishing out on a fast flowing trout stream.

Rapala OG Slim 6

Rapala OG Slim 6

The 2019 Bassmaster Classic champ Ott Defoe sits down with In-Fisherman Associate Publisher Todd Ceisner, to talk about Rapala's new OG Slim 6 crankbait. The OG Slim 6 will feature a flat-sided, balsa body, and will dive around 6 feet. Featuring a circuit board lip, the OG Slim 6 deflects off of cover better than traditional plastic lips. Offered in 14 colors and available in tackle stores Fall 2020. MSRP $10.99.

Strike King KVD J-100 Jerkbait & KVD 1.5 Hard Knock

Strike King KVD J-100 Jerkbait & KVD 1.5 Hard Knock

Strike King introduces two, new exciting baits to their already stellar lineup this 2020: the KVD J-100 Jerkbait, and the KVD 1.5 Hard Knock. KVD sits down with In-Fisherman Associate Publisher Todd Ceisner to explain how these two baits are going to help catch you more fish.

Yo-Zuri Mag Popper & 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri Mag Popper & 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri pro Carter Andrews discusses new saltwater fishing lures with Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day Whitetail

10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day

M.D. Johnson - August 26, 2020

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish Catfish

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 21, 2020

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters...

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.12 Great Catfish Baits Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day Other Freshwater

240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day

Lynn Burkhead - June 22, 2020

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.

Pan-friend slabs may not sound like a holiday meal, but as a celebration of Mom's life it was my most memorable Christmas dinner ever.Crappie for Christmas: The Fondest of Childhood Memories Stories

Crappie for Christmas: The Fondest of Childhood Memories

Keith Sutton - December 19, 2018

Pan-friend slabs may not sound like a holiday meal, but as a celebration of Mom's life it was...

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends Stories

Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends

Tory Mansfield - April 10, 2020

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.

As the official zone maps of Pool 8 were handed out for the Championship Round of the 2016 Summit Cup on the Mississippi River, the six finalists scoured the maps like scratch-off lottery tickets, hoping their numbers would come up big.Past Experience Squashed by Fishing Zone Boundaries for Championship Stories

Past Experience Squashed by Fishing Zone Boundaries for Championship

Rob Newell, MajorLeagueFishing.com

As the official zone maps of Pool 8 were handed out for the Championship Round of the 2016...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now