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Lead sinkers are cheap for fishermen but very costly for loons

To the editor,
I am writing to urge broad support for SB-89 to be voted on shortly by the N.H. House. The bill would prohibit the use of certain smaller toxic lead jigs and sinkers in fishing tackle. It would protect loons by restricting the use lead fishing sinkers weighing one ounce or less. This fishing tackle is by far the largest source of documented adult loon mortality and has had a significant negative impact upon our state's small loon population.
This legislation sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Jeanie Forrester will have minimal effect upon fishermen, but a huge effect upon loons and other wildlife that feeds upon the bottom of NH fresh water lakes. The use of a non-lead sinker or jig that is not poisonous will have no effect upon catching fish.
Please keep in mind that loons do not reproduce until their sixth year of life or later, and loon pairs have an average of only one surviving chick every two years. Thus, survival of adult loons is the most important factor in assuring the continued viability of our state's loon population. Unfortunately, New Hampshire lost 124 adult loons to ingested lead sinkers and jigs between 1989 and 2011. These deaths have had a significant negative impact on our state's small loon population.
Sinkers and jigs are inexpensive for anglers. If they are lead, they are very expensive for loons. Substitute non-lead sinkers and jigs are of nominal expense to fishermen and the proposed restriction on the use of small lead sinkers under one ounce should have no adverse affect upon sportsmen and women who enjoy fishing. I urge passage of this common sense legislation.
Eric Taussig, Treasurer
Loon Preservation Committee