Outdoor Recreation Community Forms Commission to Limit Aquatic Invasive Species

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Commissioners include representatives from YETI®, Bass Pro Shops®, Yamaha Marine, BoatU.S., B.A.S.S., the American Sportfishing Association, National Marine Manufacturing Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

 (Washington, D.C.) — Members of the $689-billion outdoor recreation industry have established a blue-ribbon commission to stop and reverse the spread of aquatic invasive species in the U.S. The commission will convene leading biologists, environmentalists, policymakers, and resource managers to assess existing mitigation efforts and identify more effective eradication solutions. Findings from the analysis will be presented to Congress and the administration in 2023, with a goal of passing comprehensive legislation to better manage and eliminate aquatic invasive species.

The new commission will meet for the first time next week at ICAST.

Aquatic invasive species are spreading at levels that are unsustainable for the waterways where they have been introduced, posing a growing threat to aquatic ecosystems, local economies, and outdoor recreation opportunities across the country. Currently, the cost to control and eradicate these invasives in the U.S. amounts to more than $100 billion each year. For decades, a patchwork of federal and state initiatives has failed to address this crisis.

“Aquatic invasive species pose a national threat to both habitat and fishing and boating access, but it is possible to put more effective policies and mitigation efforts in place,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We’ve shown time and time again that when our community convenes around a common threat, listens to the science, and makes thoughtful recommendations, we can successfully shift conservation policy. The TRCP is proud to participate in the commission’s work and future advocacy to see recommendations through.”

“In central and southern states, invasive silver carp frustrate anglers and state and federal resource managers,” says Ben Speciale, president of the U.S. Marine Business Unit at Yamaha. “But silver carp represent just a fraction of the invasive species problem in our nation. For every region, state, coast, and body of water, there is a similar pressing issue. We need a different, national approach to solving the aquatic invasive species problem. Yamaha supports this effort, because we believe the commission’s recommendations to Congress and the administration will help combat the AIS situation and help to allocate the resources needed to meet this challenge.”

“BoatU.S. has long worked to educate boaters on the impacts of invasive species and how boaters can better protect our waterways,” says Chris Edmonston, president of the BoatU.S. Foundation. “We look forward to working with industry and government agencies to come up with commonsense solutions that protect and enhance America’s waters.”

“The Aquatic Invasive Species Commission, spearhead by some of the biggest names in outdoor recreation and conservation, will be at the forefront of working alongside the administration and Congress to stop and reverse the spread of aquatic invasive species, which threaten recreational boating and fishing access, local economies, and aquatic ecosystems,” says Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “As the nation’s original conservationists, our industry looks forward to the commission’s findings and implementing more effective practices to eradicate AIS.”

“As the number and scale of aquatic invasive species grows, it’s clear that continuing with status quo isn’t going to solve the problem,” says Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. “On behalf of the recreational fishing industry, which depends on healthy aquatic ecosystems, ASA is excited to be a part of the Aquatic Invasive Species Commission. While faced with a daunting task, I’m confident the experts that comprise the commission will help put us on a path toward better response, control, and eradication of aquatic invasive species.”

Members of the Blue-Ribbon Aquatic Invasive Species Commission:

John Arway, Retired State Director

Elizabeth Brown, North American Invasive Species Management Association

Jason Christie, Pro Angler

George Cooper, Forbes-Tate

Clay Crabtree, National Marine Manufacturing Association

Devin Demario, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Jake Dree, YETI

Chris Edmonston, BoatU.S.

Marc Gaden, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S.

Heather Hennessey, Yamaha

Alanna Keating, BoatU.S.

Mike Leonard, American Sportfishing Association

Chris Macaluso, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Mark Menendez, Pro Angler

Ish Monroe, Pro Angler

Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited

John O’Keefe, Yamaha

Martin Peters, Yamaha

Stephen Phillips, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

Christy Plumer, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Ann Rogers Harrison, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Jennifer Silberman, YETI

Mathew Van Daele, Sun’aq Tribe

Nick Wiley, Ducks Unlimited

Drue Winters, American Fisheries Society

Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Founded in 2002, the TRCP is the largest coalition of conservation organizations in the country, uniting and amplifying the voices of sportsmen and women by convening hunting and fishing groups, conservation organizations, and outdoor businesses to a common purpose.

 

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