NY lead sinker ban measure goes to Pataki

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Lead-sinker ban OK'd

Associated Press

April 24, 2002

ALBANY -- The state Legislature on Tuesday prohibited the sale of most lead fishing sinkers in an effort to protect wildlife and rid the food chain of the potentially lethal poison.

The measure will be effective in two years and apply only to lead sinkers weighing a half-ounce or less.

"We already took the lead out of gasoline and paint, and now it's time to remove lead from our fishing ponds, streams and lakes,'' said Sen. Carl Marcellino, a Nassau County Republican who sponsored the bill. The measure also seeks to end the hazardous practice of biting down on lead "split-shot'' weights to affix the sinker on a fishing line.

The measure has been approved by the Assembly. Gov. George Pataki will review the legislation, a spokeswoman said.

"Loons, swans, herons and a couple of dozen other birds eat the sinkers, thinking they are small stones'' that aid their digestion, said William Cooke of Audubon New York.
 

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New York Bans Lead Sinker Sales

ALBANY, New York, May 10, 2002 (ENS) - New York has passed a law that will ban the sale of lead fish sinkers throughout the state, helping to prevent waterbirds from being injured or killed from exposure to toxic lead.
"The toxic effects of lead sinkers are a threat to waterfowl, especially loons, and these new restrictions will help protect birds and other wildlife," said Governor George Pataki, who signed the bill Wednesday. "Fishing is a popular sport in all areas of New York and this law will promote responsible fishing through the use of non-toxic sinkers."

The law bans retail sales of lead fishing sinkers weighing one-half ounce or less. Fishing sinkers are small devices anglers often attach to a fishing line to sink the line below the surface of the water.

Lead sinkers that are lost or become detached from a fishing line are often mistaken for food or grit by waterbirds such as ducks, geese, swans, gulls and loons. Birds ingesting lead sinkers may become sick or die from lead poisoning, or may behave strangely due to toxic effects of the shot, increasing their risk of death from exposure or predators.

For the past several years, DEC has notified anglers of the potential threat to waterfowl from the use of lead sinkers and the availability of non-lead alternatives. Fishers will be allowed to continue using lead sinkers they already own, or reuse sinkers found on shore.

"Sportsmen and women strongly support this measure to prevent waterfowl and other wildlife from being accidentally injured by lead sinkers," said Howard Cushing, president of the New York State Conservation League. "By banning lead sinkers at the point of sale, this will allow stakeholders to pick up and recycle any lead sinkers they find on shores without violating the law."

Many of New York's neighboring states also banned the sale and/or use of lead sinkers, which is expected to limit the availability of these sinkers and promote production and sale of non-lead alternatives.

"This new law is a triumph of cooperation between environmentalists, anglers and committed lawmakers, all of whom were needed to secure the legislature's and governor's approval for the lead sinker ban," said Bernard Melewski, acting executive director of the Adirondack Council. Working together, we will have saved the lives of thousands of loons, herons, swans, geese and other water birds by the end of the decade, and thousands more as the generations pass."
 

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