On July 23, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) staff attended the inaugural meeting of the Boating and Fishing Aquatic Invasive Species Coalition. Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are non-native exotic invasive species that harm native ecosystems, natural resources, and our economy.
At the meeting, the Coalition agreed to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Brandon Road Study, a report which evaluated options to prevent the spread of AIS (with Asian carp being a major concern) from the Mississippi River Basin into the Great Lakes Basin. The Coalition also discussed other AIS concerns across the country and ways to engage on this issue at the federal level moving forward.
AIS can be plants, animals, or pathogens and include species like water hyacinth, hydrilla, zebra mussels, Asian carp, and sea lamprey. The spread of AIS has also created problems for angler access by prompting some local municipalities and state agencies to restrict access to lakes and rivers due to a growing concern around invasive species such as quagga mussels.
The Coalition is spearheaded by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Along with CSF, the inaugural meeting of the group included American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Association of Marina Industries, B.A.S.S., BoatUS, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, Michigan Marine Trades Association, Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, and Trout Unlimited.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?