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

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

ATA 2021 NeDuring this video from the Archery Trade Association's New Product Premiere showcase, Bowhunter's TV Mike Carney visited with Evan Williams, pro staff manager for Hoyt Archery, to learn about the new RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum and Ventum 33 bows.w Product - Hoyt

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From dabblers to divers, there's an Avian-X Topflight decoy for every duck hunter.Deceive Ducks with Ultra-Realistic Decoys SHOT Show

Deceive Ducks with Ultra-Realistic Decoys

Game and Fish Staff - December 10, 2020

From dabblers to divers, there's an Avian-X Topflight decoy for every duck hunter.

A new long-range hunting contender enters the fray.First Look: Winchester's New 6.8 Western Cartridge SHOT Show

First Look: Winchester's New 6.8 Western Cartridge

Drew Warden - January 19, 2021

A new long-range hunting contender enters the fray.

11 broadheads new to the expandable-blade market this year — ATA Show.New Expandable Blade Broadheads for 2021 ATA Show

New Expandable Blade Broadheads for 2021

Lynn Burkhead - January 12, 2021

11 broadheads new to the expandable-blade market this year — ATA Show.

New for 2021, the 4MM AXIS will offer bowhunters even more of what they want in a micro-diameter arrow.Easton Archery Rolls Out 4MM AXIS Long-Range Arrows Bows

Easton Archery Rolls Out 4MM AXIS Long-Range Arrows

Game and Fish Staff - November 23, 2020

New for 2021, the 4MM AXIS will offer bowhunters even more of what they want in a...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

All sides must have something to offer to make it work.Fishing Buddies: It Has to Be Give-and-Take Stories

Fishing Buddies: It Has to Be Give-and-Take

Jeff Johnston - June 18, 2020

All sides must have something to offer to make it work.

Learn from your electronics by understanding SONAR frequency strengths and weaknesses.Secrets Your Fishfinder is Trying to Reveal Stories

Secrets Your Fishfinder is Trying to Reveal

Dr. Jason Halfen - May 13, 2020

Learn from your electronics by understanding SONAR frequency strengths and weaknesses.

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward Stories

Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward

Keith Sutton - November 12, 2018

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a lake's optimal water temperatures.For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key Stories

For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key

Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a...

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