At this point, we’d like to clear a few things up. Fishing has a long tradition with many great tried and tested techniques. Up until now, lead in recreational fishing has been a fundamental component. We’re not here to speak of the devil or assert judgement over anyone – heck, in the past we have successfully been fishing with lead sinkers ourselves – however, for a long time, even water pipes were made from lead until the dangers were recognised.
The health of our fish, their waters and nature in general should have the highest significance for us anglers, seeing as we are in direct contact with them when pursuing our passion. With FISHSTONE’s products, simple, functional and most importantly successful alternatives to fishing with lead now exist. Together, let us start a new movement in the fishing world. Our innovation offers a real world practical, integrated and flexible alternative to lead sinkers.
If you wish to learn more about this topic, we’ve put together a few of our insights from our work on this page for you.
Anglers are responsible for a lot of the lead in our waters today. Denmark is the pioneer in documenting how much lead is actually deposited in waterways. Denmark delivered a detailed report that estimated 97t to 107t of lead was deposited by anglers in Danish waters per year prior to the ban on lead. The figures for various EU countries varies considerably. Research indicates unconfirmed values of 660t per year for Germany, and up to 1000t per year for Poland. The total amount of lead deposited in EU waterways through fishing is estimated to be 2000t to 6000t per year. In particular, the amount of lead used by anglers should not be neglected, but rather should be handled responsibly. A need for a versatile, flexible and sustainable replacement for lead sinkers is required, to protect our waterways, nature and at the end of the day, our passion of fishing.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal and belongs to the EU group of 33 dangerous, priority materials. Lead is a bio accumulator with a long biological half-life. Put simply, this means that lead particles and oxides continually accumulate in every form of life and are not biodegradable in the environment.
Lead is not readily soluble in water. However, under certain conditions the dissolving or eroding action of lead particles is facilitated. Acidic water or other chemical processes are one such form. The continuous erosion of the lead in the water sets lead particles free, which end up in living creatures and ultimately the entire food chain. Even though some lead sinkers have a protective coating over them, this is not the case for all sinkers on the market, and even those that do, the environmental conditions can damage the protective coating, thus releasing the lead into the water. As a result, the smallest organism accumulate lead in their bodies. In general, these organisms are at the bottom of the food chain for most underwater creatures. In this way, the lead accumulates in the bodies of fish, which we then eat. However, not only humans, but also other animals, in particular birds are also affected by the poisonous properties of the lead sinkers lost while fishing. It is estimated that before banning certain lead sinker sizes in Great Britain in 1987, approximately 4000 swans died of lead poisoning after accidentally swallowing the sinkers. As a result, lead poisoning was the single most leading cause of death for swans in Great Britain. This is only one example of the consequences of using lead in fishing. Eventually, the entire food chain is affected via our waterways. The absorbed lead accumulates in our bodies and poisons it permanently. In the long run, lead is harmful to our waterways, the biosphere and ultimately the entire food chain. From an ecological point of view, the mining of up to 6000t of lead per year is also a burden on the environment. The mining of this crude material is finite. It requires a high amount of mechanisation and energy, as does the smelting and pouring of millions of small lead sinkers. During the mining and production process, the environment is further burdened by the large amounts of CO2 produced and heavy metal contaminated waste water.
The legislation in many countries has also become aware of the dangerous effects of lead in fishing. Currently, Denmark is the only country with a comprehensive ban on the import and sale of lead sinkers for fishing. Other countries such as Canada and Great Britain have introduced bans on particular classes of lead sinkers (for example lead sinkers under 50g). In the EU, draft legislation banning all fishing tackle that uses lead had been proposed but was rejected. As per the surface waters ordinance of Germany, it is regulated that priority substances (including lead) must no longer be introduced into German waterways from the year 2021. Given the amount of lead introduced yearly into the waterways by anglers, it is only a matter of time until legislation regulates this, in particular for the case where practical alternatives exist.
Fishstone’s products are manufactured entirely from sustainable resources. We aim to primarily use biodegradable, sustainable materials in the manufacture of our products, so as to also reduce the amount of plastic introduced to our waterways. Instead of using lead sinkers, natural stones are used, which require no manufacturing and are naturally available in large quantities.
We don’t intend to overemphasize or dramatize the effects of lead sinkers. We merely wish to make one aware of the effect it has on our waterways, food chain and health. Aside from the ecological aspects, we have high demands on our design and production to develop reliable, versatile and fairly priced alternatives. High quality fishing tackle without the use of lead is also our top priority! Decide for yourself. We would of course be happy if you join our way.