ECHA proposes a ban on lead use and sales in fishing tackle

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12 Feb

On 3 February, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has laid forth its proposal for further EU-wide restrictions on lead in many outdoor sports, notably fishing.

Drawing on ECHA’s report, the proposal would restrict the use and sale of lead in fishing tackle and of lead gunshot, and the use of lead in bullets and other projectiles, given the risks that lead can have on people, wildlife and the environment. This report follows a request made by the European Commission back in July 2019.

When it comes to fishing, the EU agency based in Finland made a two-fold proposition. On the one hand, it deems necessary to ban both sales and use of lead sinkers and lures, with transition periods depending on weight. All sinkers and lures weighing less than 50 g would have a 3-years transition period, whereas the ones over 50 g would have a 5-years transition period. On the other hand, it recommends an immediate ban on the use of lead sinkers when the sinker is deliberately dropped to water (lead drop off techniques).

However, the enforcement of these restrictions is not due to enter in force immediately. From a legislative standpoint, the proposal still has to be evaluated by the ECHA’s Scientific Committee for Risk Assessment and by the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis to assess its strengths and weaknesses, expected to be published by mid-2022. In their evaluation, members of these Committees will take into account the scientific evidence received during the consultation period. The latter, which is scheduled to start on 24 March 2021 for a 6-months period, will give all stakeholders the possibility to provide their inputs with evidence-based arguments. In the end, the European Commission will prepare its legislative proposal – based on ECHA’s proposal and the committees’ opinion. Before the ban is adopted, it will be scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council.

This proposal follows a new Commission Regulation, which bans the use of lead in gunshot in or around wetlands.

But rest assured, the European Anglers Alliance, working with the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, will thoroughly monitor this topic.
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