National Professional Angler Association (NPAA) Board Member and Fargo-Moorehead Walleyes Unlimited member Barry Chouinard and Future Angler Foundation (FAF) Executive Director, Nick Schmal joined in a panel discussion with resorts and county Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinators during a panel discussion at the second Minnesota AIS Summit. The panel members presented their views of how sport anglers and resort owners need to work together to prevent the spread of AIS in Minnesota lakes and rivers. The session entitled: Engaging Anglers in Prevention, was part of the two day conference held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, MN, October 5-6, 2016.
Chouinard presented AIS prevention requirements that walleye and other sport fish professional tournament anglers practice throughout the Midwest and nationally. NPAA members are fully aware of state agency and local regulations for preventing the spread of AIS before, during and after tournaments. He emphasized the importance of keeping it simple using the CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY® message. Schmal provided an overview of the numerous fishing clinics and derbies that NPAA and FAF co-host or sponsor with strong AIS prevention components. He also pointed out the value of the diverse partnerships to increase success when working with other groups such as resorts and lake associations.
Figure 1. FAF Executive Director, Nick Schmal, highlighting FAF and NPAA partnerships and their importance in preventing the spread of AIS.
This year’s summit drew over 350 attendees and included Minnesota local units of government and their partners, lake associations, lake service providers, angling and sporting groups, tourism interests, resorts operators, and business organizations. The Initiative Foundation and Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates developed and coordinated this year’s summit. The first summit was held in Little Falls, MN in 2015.