Letter: Help for N.H. Loons
To the Editor:
I would like to respond to Joseph Krasnecky’s May 29 letter, “Fisherman Lose Again.” SB 89, which was just signed into law by the governor, bans the use of lead sinkers and jigs of 1 ounce or less as of 2016. I believe it is an important step toward supporting the loon population, which is recovering. It is a fact that necropsies done on the bodies of many adult loons from New Hampshire show that they died from lead poisoning from a jig, the type that is currently legal but will be banned by this new law. We are seeing an increase in the loon population, thanks to the efforts of many people and especially the Loon Preservation Committee, but it is a slowly recovering number. Each adult loon is important to maintaining these numbers. Loons do not reproduce until they are about 6 years old, and then each pair produces only one or two chicks a year, at best. To get to breeding age, a loon has to survive numerous threats, including but not limited to: nest flooding, predators (eagles, raccoons, snapping turtles), boating activities, gunshot and oil spills.
An adult loon has proved to be a survivor. Yet one small lead jig taken perhaps with a fish attached will kill a loon over the course of days, a miserable and cruel death by lead poisoning. No one is trying to stop fishing. A change from lead to non-lead is not a large financial burden. I have priced out both lead and non-lead jigs, and the price is comparable. Non-lead jigs are being offered to fishermen at Mascoma Lake by the lake hosts. These are being offered free, because we believe that this is important and yet we also want to support our fishermen. Let’s get the lead out. We have already removed it from our paint, fuel and homes because we know it is toxic. Get it out of tackle boxes, too, and support New Hampshire’s loon population, which still needs all the help we can give.
President, Mascoma Lake Association