Contact: Walker Smith, 651-297-7018
Editor's note: Images related to this subject are available at www.pca.state.mn.us/oea/reduce/sinkers-images.cfm
Saint Paul, Minn. - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency encourages anglers to start the summer right by switching to lead-free fishing tackle for the Minnesota fishing opener. Lead is a toxic metal that has adverse effects on the nervous and reproductive systems of mammals and birds.
First, help protect our state and national birds. Lead poisons wildlife such as loons and eagles that inadvertently swallow tackle made from lead. Specifically, loons dive to the bottom of lakes in search of stones to grind their food, where they can swallow lead sinkers. Like loons, eagles can ingest lead by swallowing fish with a lead sinker or jig still attached to or in its body.
Second, using lead-free tackle is a great way to teach good stewardship to young anglers. Outfit kids' tackle boxes with non-lead weights. They are nontoxic and safer for youngsters to handle. Plus, inexperienced anglers tend to lose the most sinkers, so you'll be cutting down on the amount of lead left behind. Even if you lose just one lead sinker every time you go fishing, it adds up thousands of pounds when multiplied by the millions of Minnesotans who wet a line each season.
Third, your tackle box will be ready for any fishing trip. In a growing number of areas outside Minnesota, non-lead tackle isn't just a good idea - it's the law. Restrictions and bans of lead fishing sinkers and jigs are becoming more common in the United States and other countries.
Ask for lead-free tackle at your local sporting goods or bait and tackle store. Visit www.reduce.org for more information and a list of Minnesota locations where lead-free tackle is available.