Sportvisserij Nederland (the Dutch angling association) has been working for several years to reduce the use of lead in angling due to its environmentally harmful effects. This report provides an update for our anglers on the use of lead in angling.

Many anglers use weights, known as sinkers, which are made of lead. These sinkers sometimes get lost in the water. Lead is detrimental to water quality, poisonous for aquatic birds, and can have harmful effects on your own health and the health of others. That is why the use of lead has been reduced and/or prohibited in many different parts of our daily lives, such as petrol, paint, water pipes and hunting. 


Dutch anglers have long been advocating for a clean aquatic environment and this means eliminating the use of lead. After all, to improve the environment, you need to start by looking at yourself. Dutch water authorities and government bodies also consider this to be a very important subject. That is why as part of the government’s Green Deal approach, which is aimed at a more environmentally friendly economy and society, a joint program is being developed to stop the use of lead in angling. 


Sportvisserij Nederland is working with angling federations and associations to reduce the use of lead and encourage environmentally friendly alternatives, such as iron/steel, concrete, stone and tungsten. We do this every year at more than 100 competitions and events, as well as in pilot areas where anglers fish lead-free. In addition, we also explain in articles in Hét VISblad, on VIS TV and elsewhere, how to fish lead-free. An extensive overview of articles can be found at www.sportvisserijloodvrij.nl. The website also provides details of environmentally friendly alternatives to lead and information (in Dutch) about the health risks. 


The current Green Deal for Lead-free Angling runs from 2018 until 2021. An evaluation will take place next year. If insufficient progress has been made and the target of a 30% reduction is not met, additional legislation may follow. European developments are also being closely monitored. It’s not only the Netherlands that is worried about this subject – the European Commission is also concerned about the use of lead in hunting and angling. That is why it recently instructed the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to devise a restriction proposal. This proposal will be presented in October 2020 and will provide a further framework for the debate about the use of lead in fishing. A European ban on using lead in fishing may follow. 

Until that time, Sportvisserij Nederland advises anglers and angling tourists in any case to be cautious about the use of lead in fishing, not to melt or pour lead, and where possible to use environmentally friendly alternatives. 

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