Vermont Anglers Urged to Take Clean Angling Pledge
With April 9, the opening day of Vermont's trout fishing season, looming on the calendar, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry took an extra step to prepare for the upcoming season: He took the Clean Angling Pledge. He also urged anglers to look at the extensive information on VT Fish and Wildlife's website designed to help anglers modify their existing footgear.
Administered by the Montana-based Invasive Species Action Network, the Clean Angling Pledge is a simple, yet effective way to remind anglers of the important role they play in the fight against the spread of aquatic nuisance species. An angler who takes the pledge promises to inspect, clean and dry their equipment after each use.
Berry's pledge comes the same week that Vermont is poised to become the second U.S. state to ban the use of felt-soled wading boots and waders in all waters. Vermont's ban, established last year by the Vermont Legislature, begins April 1, 2011. Maryland's ban began March 22.
"It's important to note that simply making the switch from felt to a rubber-soled boots does not absolve an angler, hunter or trapper from still having to clean their gear," Berry said. "Rubber-soled boots are easier to clean than felt, but we have to remain vigilant to protect our resources."
Taking the pledge, said Berry, takes only a few minutes, and he's urging all Vermont anglers to log on to www.cleananglingpledge.org and join him. A link to the pledge can also be found on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's Website.
"Vermont Fish & Wildlife takes this issue very seriously," Berry said. "We have a strict cleaning protocol in place for our employees that mandates a very through and complete cleaning of their gear after each use. This pledge helps remind anglers to develop their own cleaning routine for all of their gear, too."
The three key components of the pledge are:
- INSPECT: Take a close look at your equipment (including boots, waders, boats and trailers) for any rocks, mud, plants, moss or other materials. Physically remove it.
- CLEAN: Thoroughly clean your equipment with water and a brush to remove any attached materials.
- DRY: Completely dry your equipment in the sun.
Bob Wiltshire, executive director of the Invasive Species Action Network, said he's happy Berry is helping get out the message of the Clean Angling Pledge.
"We're pleased that Commissioner Berry recognizes the importance of taking personal responsibility for protecting our waters. By simply cleaning our gear to after every use each one of us helps to prevent spreading invaders. None of us wants to be the person responsible for introducing a new invader and following the Clean Angling Pledge helps protect our waters."