Aquatic Invasive Species Commission addresses regulatory gaps

lake, boat, dock, sunset, friends, nature

The Aquatic Invasive Species Commission, a collaboration between YETI, Bass Pro Shops, and recreational boating and fishing industry stakeholders, released a report today that identifies regulatory gaps in addressing aquatic invasive species and urges Congress to modernize laws, increase spending, and improve coordination at federal, state, local, and tribal levels to combat harmful aquatic invasive species.

Released in partnership with leading voices in natural resources policy, scientists, federal, state, tribal representatives, and recreational stakeholders, the report states that policy should maintain access for boaters and anglers, balancing safe usage with the long-term health of natural resources.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native plants, animals, and other organisms that have evolved to live primarily in water rather than land, are among the recreational boating and fishing industry’s foremost challenges. AIS can damage boats by fouling propellers, jamming impellors, clogging drains and intake pipes, and causing bilge pump failure. Further, AIS alter natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, harm water quality, and degrade waterways, leading to significant impacts on human health and recreational, commercial, and subsistence uses of waterways, fisheries, and other natural resources.

“Today’s report spearhead by the outdoor recreation industry, in partnership with some of the greatest, most recognized outdoors brands including YETI and Bass Pro Shops, is a foundational step in engaging our lawmakers to take a holist approach to combat and reverse the threat of aquatic invasive species in our waterways,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President and CEO of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “We look forward to working with Congress to execute on the report’s recommendations to ensure future generations of boaters and anglers have access to clean waters and healthy ecosystems for years to come.”

“Aquatic invasive species are a tremendous threat to our nation’s waters, causing billions of dollars in economic harm 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 Dr. Marc Gaden, Communications Director at the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and associate professor at Michigan State University. “I am particularly pleased to see that many of the recommendations focus on the importance of leveraging science to affect policy. I urge Congress to act on these recommendations so that our nation can take immediate action on invasive species prevention and control.”

The American public has a role to play in this fight, too. The report calls on natural resource managers to maintain and strengthen public engagement over AIS issues. Coordinated, science-based education on AIS prevention is key to effectively stopping the spread of AIS in our waters.

To access the full report, click here.

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