Brooklyn Center, MN – Wanted, dead not alive! Asian carp have been the scourge of America’s lakes and rivers for nearly a century. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently partnered with Wildlife Forever reminding anglers to Trash Unused Bait to help stop the spread of these and other aquatic invasive species (AIS). Highway billboards, wanted posters and soon to be released ads in local papers distributed throughout the state advise anglers how they can help.
“Asian carp are on the door step to the Great Lakes. As juvenile fish, Asian carp look very similar to Gizzard Shad and other baitfish so it’s critical that anglers put unused bait in the trash to prevent further spread,” said John Navarro, AIS Program Administrator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Both Bighead and Silver Carp are established in the Ohio River watershed but have not been detected in the Lake Erie watershed.
Anglers are an important line of defense in preventing invasive fish, plants and diseases from spreading. Most bait in Ohio comes from local dealers that could unknowingly distribute young Asian carp and other potentially invasive species to anglers. In addition to asking for help from anglers, ODNR initiated an outreach program to help bait dealers identify Asian carp at the retail end of the supply chain.
Bait collected for personal use is another way that invasive species can spread. Catching baitfish in one body of water and fishing with it in another body of water is legal, but dumping unused bait is illegal because it is places a healthy body of water in potential danger. Wildlife officials encourage all anglers to Trash Unused Bait to prevent accidental release of Asian carp and other AIS.
“Educating anglers on the importance of preventing invasive species spread is critical. It’s going to take state, federal and industry partnerships to invest in education to protect our natural resources. I’m glad to see Ohio making that commitment”, said Pat Conzemius, Conservation Director for Wildlife Forever.
The Clean Drain Dry Initiative works to consolidate national invasive species messaging by strategically focusing content and communications on prevention. To sponsor or partner with Clean Drain Dry activities in your state or organization, contact: Pat Conzemius: PConzemius@WildlifeForever.org
About Wildlife Forever (WF): WF’s mission is to conserve America's wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife. For over 27 years, WF members have helped to conduct thousands of fish, game and habitat conservation projects across the country. To join or learn more about WF’s award-winning programs, including work to engage America’s youth , visit www.WildlifeForever.org.