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Lead poisoning from ingestion of fishing gear: A review

Abstract

Many publications have investigated the ingestion and toxicity of metallic lead from hunting and the shooting sports. However, there is limited literature on toxicity associated with the ingestion of lead fishing weights, despite our knowledge of damage caused to many species from entanglement in lines, nets, and fish-hooks. This paper surveys current knowledge of species poisoned by ingestion of lead fishing gear and the types of gear that have been implicated. We review the impacts of lead fishing tackle on wildlife species and human health and describe the efficacy of efforts to reduce the use of lead tackle through voluntary, educational, and regulatory approaches to encourage adoption of non-toxic fishing gear. The authors emphasize the need for further research and policy initiatives to deal with this serious problem.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the following people for contributing their data and perspectives to the development of this paper: Eric Corneau, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Gatineau, Que., Canada. Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon Society, Falmouth, ME, USA. Meghan Hartwick, Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH USA. Carrol Henderson, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN, USA. Erica LeMoine, Sigurd Olson Inst., Northland College, Ashland, WI, USA. Daniel and Ginger Poleschook, loon biologists, Loon Lake, WA, USA. Sean Strom, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI, USA. Jillian Whitney, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, West Boylston, MA, USA.

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Grade, T., Campbell, P., Cooley, T. et al. Lead poisoning from ingestion of fishing gear: A review. Ambio 48, 1023–1038 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01179-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01179-w

Keywords

  • Jig
  • Loon
  • Lure
  • Sinker
  • Swan
  • Waterbird