|A couple of anglers fly-fishing for salmon at Witch Creek near Juneau. Photo by Mark Kaekle.|
Alaska took a major step this year toward preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. In response to a proposal by Juneau Trout Unlimited Chapter Member, Mark Vinsel, the state Board of Fisheries agreed to ban the use of felt sole waders in Southeast Alaska’s freshwater streams as of January 1, 2011.
It’s believed to be the first time a state regulatory body has adopted such a prohibition.
“We applaud both Mark’s initiative and the foresight of the Board in passing this proposal and starting Alaska on its way to protecting our fisheries statewide.” said Trout Unlimited Southeast Alaska Project Director, Mark Kaelke.
Although Alaska’s waters are relatively free of invasive species currently, Trout Unlimited expects that without further proactive measures and increased awareness of potential problems, it is simply a matter of time before state waterways become infected with invasive species that have devastated fisheries elsewhere.
“Other states and countries have spent millions to fight the spread of invasive species like Whirling disease and New Zealand mudsnails and they’ve lost millions in revenue due to resulting declines in fish production. We have the opportunity to prevent that from happening in Alaska,” Kaelke said.