A directive banning traditional lead tackle and ammunition on public lands was passed before President Barack Obama left office.
Outgoing U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service director Daniel M. Ashe issued a Director’s Order – Order 219 – on January 19th. It immediately went into effect. What does this Order entail? The purpose is stated below:
The purpose of this Order is to establish procedures and a timeline for expanding the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle on Service lands, waters, and facilities and for certain types of hunting and fishing regulated by the Service outside of Service lands, waters, and facilities.
This will apply to all hunting and fishing activities on public lands, to be implemented by January 2022 if the Order isn’t challenged. This could present serious implications to both industries if not undone. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under the purview of the Department of Interior, which will be headed up by Montana congressman and outdoorsman Ryan Zinke (if and when confirmed).
No fishing or hunting group was consulted on the matter.
Scott Guides, vice president of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association issued the following statement in response to the Order:
“The sportfishing industry views this unilateral policy to ban lead fishing tackle, which was developed without any input from the industry, other angling organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies, as a complete disregard for the economic and social impact it will have on anglers and the recreational fishing industry,” said Gudes.
Gudes further said, “In the limited instances where lead fishing tackle is demonstrated to harm local wildlife populations, the sportfishing industry supports actions to minimize or eliminate these impacts. However, unnecessary and sweeping bans such as this Director’s Order will do nothing to benefit wildlife populations and instead will penalize the nation’s 46 million anglers and hurt recreational fishing-dependent jobs.”
Gudes concluded, “A sound, science-driven and durable policy could’ve been crafted with input from industry and the broader recreational fishing community. 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.”
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies similarly responded to Order 219:
“It does a disservice to hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries, and the many professionals on staff with the USFWS who desire a trusting and transparent relationship with their state partners.” This is unacceptable federal overreach into the states’ authority to regulate the methods of take for sport fish as well as complete disregard for the states’ concurrent jurisdiction with the Service for the management of migratory birds. Further, the economic impacts of this action, which likely will be felt most by rural Americans, is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Association looks forward to working with a new Administration in the redress of this poorly timed and executed decision.
Under Obama’s tenure as president, his Environment Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to ban lead tackle and ammunition on numerous occasions through the Toxic Substances Control Act. It tried to ban lead bullets but failed. It attempted to ban lead fishing gear but failed. The list goes on and on.
Seizing upon his final days in office, Obama thought it would be cute to slip this directive under our noses. This is unacceptable and must be undone. As an angler and future hunter, I-like millions of others-want to legally access public lands without fear or retribution of using lead tackle or ammunition. I’m optimistic incoming Department of Interior head Ryan Zinke will oversee the undoing of this awful Order.
Per Order 219, it will remind in effect until it is incorporated into the “Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, or until we amend, supersede, or revoke it, whichever comes first.” If this order isn’t amended, superseded, or revoked, the Order will be phased out by July 31, 2018.
Unconstitutional anti-conservation actions like banning lead tackle and ammunition cannot stand in this new administration. Let’s hope the a competent, conservation-minded director is appointed to head up the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.