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What Anglers Can Do To Fight Invasive Species

Posted by Dr. Janet Whaley, APHIS Aquaculture Program Manager in Initiatives Animals Plants
Feb 21, 2017

Hi, I’m Dr. Janet Whaley, an aquatic veterinarian and avid angler.  I guess you could say fish are my passion!  I work every day to ensure the continued health of our nation’s fish, so that in my spare time, I can be out on the water with my fishing pole and a camera.

Invasive species can spread unintentionally on land and in the water.  This could damage our waters and our forests – and leave us with unhealthy or fewer fish to catch.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be sure I can bring my family fishing for years to come.  So I take proper steps to help keep invasive species in check.  The basic steps all anglers (and boaters, too) need to keep in mind include:

  1. Learn to recognize invasive plants.  That way you can avoid passing through them and unintentionally spreading them or their seed.
  2. Report any invasive pest sightings to the local land manager or a local APHIS office.  You can click on the “Report a Pest or Disease” link at  There are also invasive species in the water – if you see any of those, contact your local DNR or Fish & Wildlife office.
  3. Always remember to clean your equipment, boots, clothing, tires, boats and gear between locations.  It’s best to clean your gear before leaving the location.
  4. Buy your bait from licensed dealers.  And don’t refreeze it or dump it back into the water – throw out your old bait properly.

If you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll be protecting our waters, our fish and a fun, family outdoor activity.  After all, what would the summer be without stories about the “one that got away”?  Join me in keeping our fish healthy and our environment free from invasive species!

For more information on invasive pests, visit   For fish health information, visit

Category/Topic: Initiatives Animals Plants

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Barb Elliott
Jul 04, 2012

I think anglers should be the front lines of defense in identification of invasives and the spread of invasives - they spend thousands of hours on the water 'sampling' weed beds with their lures!! Some simple education with regards to ID and reporting goes a long way!!

Remy Rachal
Jul 24, 2012

Having grown up in Florida and worked for National Marine Fisheries Service I can honestly say America's fisheries are in dire straits. ANYTHING we as fishermen can do to help Dr. Whaley or any government official in regards to helping our fisheries grow stronger and larger WE NEED TO DO!