08 October 2010

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Green Fish

As we move into fall in earnest, the weather cools but the salmon fishing in the Northwest heats up, and now might be a good time to give that tackle box and environmentally friendly update.

Fishing gives us a great chance to get out and experience the workings of nature. In fact, for many of those who fish, taking advantage of this opportunity represents the true reason for fishing (although it is nice to hook into a big one too).

Because we love this chance to touch nature so strongly, we should make sure it's a mutually positive touch, and that brings me back to our tackle boxes. Many lures and sinkers contain lead, which contaminants the environment and poisons wildlife when the tackle is lost. Additionally, monofilament line and leader can take more than 500 years to break down in the environment.

If you fish and would like to cut back on the amount of tackle that might end up making such a negative impact on the world you love, check out Green Tackle, a Portland, Oregon, company that sells environmentally friendly alternatives, including lead-free sinkers and lures and biodegradable line and leader. The company even has recycled waders.

Finally, fall also brings hunting season. If you hunt, please consider switching to lead-free ammunition. As with lead sinkers and lures, spent ammunition with lead in it can be consumed by animals, especially birds, who mistake it for food or grit. Birds of prey often get lead-poisoning when they eat carcasses of animals that have been shot but never located by the hunter. However the lead is consumed, once it has made its way into the animal's digestive track, the animal is agonizingly poisoned to death unless someone happens to find and save it. As outdoorspeople, this kind of impact is not what we want our interaction with nature to be marked by.

Most major ammunition makers now provide lead-free alternatives. Check them out if you haven't already.

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