SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) has introduced a bill to ban small lead fishing weights.
“Small lead fishing weights, like splitshot, are killing California wildlife,” explained Assemblymember Quirk. “Many birds consume river gravel to aid in mashing and digesting food. Often they accidentally ingest discarded lead fishing weights. The lead poisons their liver, leading to a slow death. Water fowl, in particular, are common victims,” he added
Assemblymember Quirk joins other states that have banned these toxic dangerous products. New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Washington have all introduced bans on small lead fishing weights in some or all of their inland waters. Canada and Britain have also banned their use. Under President Obama’s Administration, the U.S. Fish and Game Service moved to ban lead fishing weights nationally by 2022. This effort was reversed under President Trump’s administration.
AB 2787 will ban the use of lead fishing weight under 50g in weight with a cross section in any direction under 2cm.
“California is behind the times when it comes to this,” said Assemblymember Quirk. “The dangers of these products have been discussed for a long time, and there are many non-lead alternatives available. In California, we know these weights have killed brown pelicans, herons, loons, gulls, and even harbor seals. Around the world, these weights have caused death in swans, geese, bald eagles and turtles. It’s time for California to take this important step forward and protect our wildlife against lead poisoning.”
As Chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, Assemblymember Quirk has authored bills dealing with lead exposure prevention. Lead has been listed under California’s Proposition 65 since 1987 as a substance that can cause reproductive damage and birth defects, and has been listed as a chemical known to cause cancer since 1992.
AB 2787 will be eligible to be heard in March.