A grassroots initiative aimed at reducing lead poisoning in wildlife and its accumulation in the environment is off to an encouraging start for 2022.
The voluntary Lead Fishing Tackle Buy Back Program (starting March 31) rewards anglers with a $10 voucher when they exchange lead fishing tackle at participating sporting goods retailers and tackle shops in southeastern Ontario.
The program was conceived by Margie Manthey, Fishing Director for the Wolfe Lake Association. Made possible by the Wolfe Lake Association, through a grant from South Frontenac Township and partnership with the Westport Area Outdoors Association, the program also has endorsements by MP Scott Reid (Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston) and Rideau Lakes Township Mayor Arie Hoogenboom, as well as support from the Westport Lions Club, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, and Camp IAWAH.
“Our first-year goals are to raise public awareness on the hazards created by fishing with lead, offer anglers an incentive to switch from lead tackle to lead-free alternatives through our voucher exchange program and with sample giveaways, and support retailers as they phase out lead tackle sales by securing them cost discounts from manufacturers of lead-free alternatives. We’ll also be creating youth education opportunities to teach kids how lead harms wildlife, and of course, collect as much lead as possible to keep it out of the environment,” Manthey said.