Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species with These Simple Steps

onWater Team
May 16, 2024
7 min read

Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species with These Simple Steps

onWater Team
May 16, 2024
7 min read
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We all want to pristine and protected places to fish near us. A massive part of ensuring the fisheries that we target close to home remain quality for generations to come is to limit, or completely eliminate, the risk of invasive species. From unwanted predatory fish in the small creeks near you or larger problems like zebra mussels or algae blooms, invasive species can mean a death sentence for some local fishers.

Here are some Top Tips and Best Practices to ensure you are not introducing aquatic invasive species.

Clean all gear before leaving your fishing site by scrubbing gear with a stiff bristled brush and rinsing with water, preferably high-pressure. This is often the simplest and most effective for prevention.

Inspect your gear before it is packed for transport. Visible traces of sand, mud, gravel and plant fragments are signs that your gear has not been properly cleaned and aquatic hitchhikers may still be present (in which case, see Step 1!).

Use dedicated equipment for infected watersheds if you have the means, including: boots, waders, nets and other equipment that comes in contact with the water.

In addition to cleaning and inspecting your gear, you can use one of the following decontamination methods to complete your checklist to stop the spread:

Freeze your gear for a minimum of 8 hours at 26°F (-3°C) or below.

Soak gear in a bath of hot water at least 120°F (40°C) for 2 hours. (This method is not advised for Gore-Tex)

Dry your gear before reuse. Minimum air exposure time of 53 hours is necessary for effective decontamination of equipment and boats.

Another option to consider is chemical decontamination, a tested and fast method that may be most suitable if freezing, soaking or drying your gear is not possible or if you are fishing waters with a known contamination.  

Liberally spray Formula 409 All Purpose Cleaner on surfaces, leaving it for 20 minutes and then rinsing. This method was found to be 100% effective in the laboratory tests against NZMS.

Much of this information is adapted from a guidebook created by Michigan Trout Unlimited, in partnership with Oakland University, and made possible by the generous support of the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Joyce Foundation.

Thanks to our friends from Trout Unlimited for this list.

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