By Joseph Mullin, New England States Coordinator
On September 22, members the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation (CSF) States Program Team hosted state legislators, state agency officials, commissioners, and industry partners in Erie, Pennsylvania for a dinner and policy forum focused on fisheries management priorities in the Great Lakes.
Attendees included: Don Williams of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Council on Hunting, Fishing and Conservation; the Erie Steelhead Association; the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association; Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Senator Darwin Booher, Representative Leslie Love, and Representative David Maturen; Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Patrick Harkins; Pennsylvania B.A.S.S. Nation; Representative Kent Smith (OH) and the SONS (Save Our Native Species) of Lake Erie.
The forum kicked off with a presentation on Lake Erie Fisheries Management by Chuck Murray, Lake Erie Fisheries Management Unit Leader for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The discussion centered on fisheries management cooperatives, catch and harvest rate surveys, stocking programs, and restoration initiatives.
Vice President of State Government Affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) David Dickerson then provided a boating industry update. The presentation offered a brief introduction to NMMA, marine manufacturing, the recreational boating industry, and recreational boater education and advocacy efforts in the United States. A top NMMA priority is to combat aquatic invasive species challenges at regional and state levels.
Trout Unlimited’s Great Lakes Organizer Taylor Ridderbusch delivered the final presentation on the ecologically detrimental effects grass carp can impose on native aquatic vegetation and the species that rely on the availability of such vegetation. Ridderbusch stated, “Fish habitat and waterfowl production areas are at risk due to the impacts of grass carp. Hunters and anglers spend more than $13.8 billion annually on their sports in the Great Lakes. A reduction of waterfowl and sportfish populations would decrease the economic value to communities that benefit from sportsmen and women.”
Event sponsors included: Ducks Unlimited, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Wildlife Federation, Shimano American Corporation, St. Croix Rods, and Trout Unlimited.
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- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (5.90%)
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