Michigan Sea Grant works with professional fishing tournaments to help prevent spread of AIS

By implementing an AIS-HACCP program in fishing tournaments, the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species could be greatly reduced to protect our waterways.

Michigan Sea Grant has been working with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network to develop a program for professional fishing tournaments to help prevenFishing tournament image.t the spread of aquatic invasive species. The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network has teamed up with Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit to determine if an Aquatic Invasive Species-Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (AIS-HACCP) program might be a tool that could be used in fishing tournaments to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species to new geographic areas as tournament participants move from one body of water to another.

Professional fishing tournaments attract anglers from many states throughout the country, increasing the risk of aquatic invasive species being transported to new locations by way of boats, motors, trailers, and fishing equipment. By using AIS-HACCP, attention can be focused on the segments of the fishing tournament processes that are most likely to pose a risk of spreading aquatic invasive species. It also allows tournament organizers to assess procedures at different fishing tournaments and evaluate how potential hazards are being handled.

Michigan Sea Grant evaluated five professional fishing tournaments in Michigan over the past two summer tournament seasons. Many fishing tournament participants signed a pledge to protect aquatic resources by cleaning aquatic vegetation from their trailers, motors, and boats. They also pledged to drain water from their bilges, live wells and motor; wash and dry their boats and trailers prior to launching at their next fishing location; use live bait responsibly; and inform other anglers and boaters about the importance of aquatic invasive species prevention; and set an example for others to follow.

Michigan Sea Grant along with other Great Lakes Sea Grant representatives will be meeting this winter with fishing tournament organizers to review best practices at professional tournaments to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species to new geographic locations.

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