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Vermont asks boaters and anglers to take care around loons

June 26, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife is asking boaters and anglers to enjoy loons from a safe distance this summer.

Vermont Wildlife biologist Doug Morin says most areas where loons are nesting on Vermont’s lakes are surrounded by signs reminding people to give loons the space they need, but not all are marked.

“We’re asking people to view loons using binoculars rather than from up close, whether they are in a boat, a canoe or a kayak,” he said in a statement.

Eric Hanson of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies says most people are respectful of nesting loons and give them space, but people sometimes inadvertently harm loons without meaning to.

“Loon chicks can be difficult to see, so we ask motorboaters to note where loon families are and to avoid those areas,” said Hanson. “We also ask that motorboaters obey ‘no wake’ laws within 200 feet of shorelines because boat wakes can flood and destroy shoreline loon nests.”

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Loons were removed from Vermont’s endangered species list in 2005, but human disturbance during the breeding season and ingestion of fishing gear still threaten loons. In 2019 two loons died after ingesting lead fishing gear. Lead sinkers weighing one-half ounce or less are illegal in Vermont.