Legislature passes loon protection bill banning lead sinkers

A loon eats a crab at the mouth of the Scarborough River on Wednesday March 14, 2012.
A loon eats a crab at the mouth of the Scarborough River on Wednesday March 14, 2012. Buy Photo
Posted June 28, 2013, at 12:13 p.m.

FALMOUTH, Maine — Maine Audubon on Friday celebrated the passage of LD 730, An Act to Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs.

The bill passed 125-19 in the Maine House of Representatives and 35-0 in the Senate.

According to a Maine Audubon press relese, LD 730 bans the sale and use of lead fishing sinkers that weigh one ounce or less. It also bans the sale and use of bare lead-headed jigs that are 2½ inches long or shorter. The law will be phased in, with the sinker ban going into effect this fall and the jig component going into effect on Sept. 1, 2017.

Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death among adult loons in Maine, according to Maine Audubon, and is responsible for nearly one-third of documented mortality over the past 25 years.

Loons ingest gravel from lake bottoms and can often take in lead sinkers and jigs.

More than a decade ago the Maine Legislature passed a law that targeted smaller led sinkers — those that weighed one-half ounce or less. Anglers then switched to nonlead alternatives.

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