Increased collaboration at the federal, state, local and tribal levels is critical to the prevention and eradication of AIS, the report says.
A new report from the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Commission has been released urging Congress to modernize laws, increase federal funding, and improve coordination at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels to combat harmful aquatic invasive species. The report, which was based on consultations with leading voices in natural resource policy, scientists, federal, state and tribal representatives, and recreation stakeholders, urges Congress to direct agencies to identify regulatory gaps and improve engagement public.
The report calls for the exchange of information and the development of data-based solutions to enable the Aquatic Nuisance Task Force (ANSTF) to better coordinate the prevention, early detection and eradication of AIS. The report highlights emerging risks from the introduction of AIS, and calls for modernization of existing laws that address AIS, such as the Lacey Act and the Non-Indian Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act.
“From invasive carp to green crab to didymus, AIS are one of the top threats to the conservation of fisheries and the nation’s $148 billion recreational fishing industry,” said Connor Bevan, Inland Fisheries Policy Manager. from ASA. “Reported by leading biologists, fisheries managers and policy experts, the ISA Commission’s landmark report presents comprehensive recommendations to better control the spread of ISA across the country and prevent future introductions.”
“Aquatic invasive species are a tremendous threat to our nation’s waters, causing billions of dollars in economic damage and unquantifiable, often irreversible damage to ecosystems. I commend the outdoor industry for taking the threat of AIS seriously and for presenting a roadmap for effective policy,” said AIS Commissioner Dr. Marc Gaden, Director of Communications for the Outdoors Commission. Great Lakes Fisheries and associate professor at Michigan State University. “I am particularly pleased to see that many of the recommendations focus on the importance of harnessing science to affect policy. I urge Congress to act on these recommendations so our nation can take immediate action on the prevention and control of invasive species.”
The report says laws must maintain access for boaters and fishermen, balancing safe use with the long-term health of natural resources. Mark Menendez, professional fisherman and member of the AIS commission, applauded the commission’s report, noting the importance of the findings and addressing the threat of AIS.
“Access to healthy waters, safe use and the long-term health of our natural resources is always on the minds of anglers and boaters while on the water,” said Mark Menendez, Bassmaster Elite Series Professional. “Ensuring the long-term health of our waterways is crucial to lessening the economic burden that aquatic invasive species unfortunately place on communities affected by these harmful species. Control, eradication and thriving beneficial industries will play a key role in collaborating to reduce many harmful AIS from our aquatic systems.”
The American public also has a role to play in this fight. The report calls on natural resource managers to maintain and strengthen public participation in ISA issues. Coordinated, science-based education on AIS prevention is key to effectively stopping the spread of AIS in our waters.
Additionally, the report recommends that Congress should:
- Authorize the ANSTF as an independent federal entity that can receive and grant appropriated federal funds OR ensure that all federal agencies have sufficient funding to manage and operate an AIS Program with dedicated staff.
- Appropriate funding for proven technologies such as barriers and deterrents to invasive fish, employing techniques such as bioacoustic fish fences, gas bubble screens and electric fencing, or other appropriate technologies in conjunction with traditional physical structures in interjurisdictional waterways and waters of regional importance and national according to the priority of ANSTF sites
- Provide additional funding for appropriate agencies to expand signage and visual and textual cues, and work to address language barriers at boat launches and fishing access points to induce AIS prevention activities, including enforcement actions. decontamination “Clean, Drain, Dry” and “Don’t Let it Loose” messages.
An executive summary of the report can be viewed here, and the report can be read in its entirety here.
Founded by scientists, conservationists, fishermen, boaters, business leaders, and policy experts, the ISA Commission has convened leading experts to identify federal policy solutions to prevent the introduction and control the spread of invasive species in our nation’s waters, which culminates in a detailed report. .
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The American Sport Fishing Association (ASA) is the trade association for the sport fishing industry committed to representing the interests of the sport fishing and boating industries, as well as the entire sport fishing community. We provide the industry and anglers with a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect the sport fishing business or sport fishing itself. ASA invests in companies for the long term to ensure the industry remains strong and prosperous, as well as to safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation, and social values of America’s sport fishing. ASA also gives America’s 55 million fishermen a voice in political decisions that affect their ability to fish sustainably in our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national fisherman advocacy campaign. America’s fishermen generate more than $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating jobs for 825,000 people.