LET'S GET THE LEAD OUT (NEW CLA INITIATIVE)
Lead-based fishing tackle can be fatal to Loons and other aquatic wildlife, when ingested from fish or the lake bottom. There is low awareness of this risk among Anglers. Lead-free tackle performs identically to lead-based tackle, but can be difficult to identify and purchase at retail.
CLA has decided to act, and is proud to announce its "Let's Get the Lead Out" initiative. Modelled on a successful program at nearby Wolfe Lake, the initiative will include increased awareness and information and awareness, direct engagement with Anglers (including free "grab bags" of lead-free tackle), and a program to increase availability of lead-free tackle at local retailers.
TOXINS IN OUR TACKLE BOX
Every year loons, swans and other water birds die needlessly of lead poisoning after swallowing lead fishing sinkers and jigs. Anglers attach lead weights to fishing lines to sink the hook, bait, or lure onto the water. Some anglers use lead-weighted hooks, called jigs. Sinkers and jigs may accidently detach from a line an fall into the water, or the hook or line may become tangled, and the line may break or be cut. An estimated 500 tonnes of lead sinkers and jigs are lost in Canadian waters each year.
Lead (Pb) is a neuro-toxin which attacks the nervous system and can lead to blindness, decreased reproductivity, seizures and death. Lead is fatal to loons and other aquatic birds.
Many ducks and other water birds find food in the mud at the bottom of lakes. Most of these birds also swallow small stones and grit that aid in grinding up their food. Some of the grit may be lead from anglers' equipment. A fish-eating water bird, like a loon, may be attracted to bait on a hook. It may swallow a sinker or jig attached to a broken line or to an escaped fish. Birds with lead poisoning often have physical and behavioural changes, including loss of balance and inability to fly. Even when signs of lead poisoning are not obvious, the bird may still have trouble feeding, mating, nesting, and caring for its young.
The ingestion of a single lead sinker or lead-headed jig is sufficient to expose a loon or other bird to a lethal dose of lead. In eastern North America, lead poisoning from sinker and jig ingestion is the leading cause of death reported in adult Loons, exceeding observed mortality associated with trauma, disease, entanglement in fishing line, and gunshot wounds.
SAFER FISHING TACKLE
Lead poisoning does not have to happen. Sinkers and jigs do not have to be made out of lead. You can now buy sinkers and jigs made out of other materials such as bismuth, clay, steel, and tin that are not poisonous to birds.
LEAD FISHING TACKLE KILLS LOONS & OTHER WILDLIFE
One small lead sinker is enough to kill an adult loon, and as many as 1 in 5 loons suffer a slow, painful death from lead toxicity.
DEADLY AND INVISIBLE THREAT TO LOONS
Is it grit or lead?
This is an actual sample of the lakebed in Wolfe Lake. Lead tackle was added to illustrate how difficult it is to identify grit from lead.
Loons can't tell the difference between lead tackle and pebbles. Can you?
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY FISHING TACKLE CONTAINS LEAD?
Lead is dull and grey in colour. It will leave a mark when scratched on paper.
Lead is a dense soft metal. If you can dent it with your fingernail or pliers it is lead.
Is it safe to use coated lead tackle? Coatings are quickly eroded by the grinding in the digestive system and then lead is absorbed into the blood stream.
A LONG LIFE IS NEEDED TO SUSTAIN THE LOON SPECIES
Loon life expectancy is 15-30 years.
Their long life is credited to sustaining their species
Photo Credit - Justin Hoffman
LOONS HAVE A LOW REPRODUCTIVE RATE
Loons do not mate until they reach the age of 6-7 years of age.
They average 1/2 chicks per year
EAGLES ARE VICTIMS TOO
Bald eagles ae posioned when they eat a dead or dying fish with broken line and tackle attached.
Photo Credit - Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre