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Former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order No. 219 mandates the use of nontoxic fishing tackle ‘to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service waters by January 2022.

This action taken dismisses the historically cooperative conservation efforts of the angling community regarding this issue, disregards the economic and social impact a ban would have on the sportfishing industry, and came abruptly and without any input from or communication with the industry.

The sportfishing industry has been supportive of actions to minimize or eliminate any potential harm that lead fishing tackle may cause the environment; as can be seen from the significant education and outreach efforts provided surrounding this issue. This Director’s Order, made on the day before President Obama left office, will penalize the historically cooperative 46 million recreational fishermen while having no measurable positive impact on the environment.

Scott Gudes, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs called it a “unilateral policy” that disregards economic impact.

“A sound, science-driven and durable policy could’ve been crafted with input from industry and the broader recreational fishing community,” he said. “We are hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will repeal this director’s order and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.”