The BASS conservation agenda
Belonging to BASS, the "Worldwide Leader in Bass Fishing," means much more than membership in a global club of bass anglers. Since the early 1970s, BASS has taken a proactive response to addressing the nation's vital aquatic resource issues. In the early years, it meant taking legal action against industries making a toxic soup of the nation's waterways. Today, the agenda has grown more complex, and BASS follows a parallel path in dealing with the issues through its Conservation Program.
The backbone of the organization is founded on a grass-roots core of members whose passion extends beyond bass fishing. These men and women, young and old, belong to BASS Federation clubs nationwide. They are environmental stewards always on the lookout for issues that have local and even national significance.
The BASS Conservation Program works a "top down" to "bottom up" approach in dealing with six key, fundamental issues vital to the future health of the nation's aquatic resources. From local bass clubs to the national level, where BASS works cooperatively with government to develop sound management policy, the protection and enhancement of aquatic resources will remain a top priority.
Simply put, habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate. And without habitat the future of recreational angling and a vital link to the aquatic food chain will be lost. The issues are complex: erosion, sedimentation and reservoir aging. Yet, there is hope and BASS Conservation has taken a leadership role in the federal government's National Fish Habitat Initiative. At the national level, BASS is proactively involved with federal and state government to enact laws to end the losses while making room for habitat restoration and growth. The habitat agenda is pushed up from the local level through the grass-roots network of BASS Federation clubs.
Aquatic nuisance species
An aquarium owner dumps unwanted fish and plants into the local river, no harm intended. A freighter from overseas pumps ballast water into the Great Lakes, unknowingly setting free harmful fish and organisms. Both scenarios are very real and threaten to destroy or imperil the balance of aquatic ecosystems the size of the Great Lakes, Mississippi River and beyond. As the problem spreads, BASS Conservation has joined a growing coalition of concerned policy makers, government agencies and scientists to regulate importation of exotics and stop their illegal introduction to the nation's waters.
Aquatic vegetation management
Hydrilla and milfoil are unjustly perceived by many sportsmen as ideal habitat for fish and waterfowl. In moderate quantities the plants indeed provide habitat, however when overabundant they become a nuisance to other water users, from boaters to lakeshore homeowners and even municipal drinking water suppliers. BASS Conservation advocates and facilitates mediation between all user groups while encouraging stakeholders to establish diverse native plant communities. Ideally, striking the balance will benefit ecosystems and users alike.
A fishing trip begins with a place to launch the boat or shoreline to cast a line. Yet access to public waterways has suffered. And finding a boat ramp is the least of the problems. Demands on water supplies, restrictive fishery management regulations on fishing seasons, and horsepower limitations merely scratch the surface of why anglers can't rightfully gain access to public waters. Through a grass-roots approach with bass clubs affiliated with the BASS Federation, angler and boater rights are being heard. The cause is ongoing, with the Federation and BASS Conservation collectively uniting to open more access areas through improvement and construction programs at public access areas nationwide.
At the first outbreak of the Largemouth Bass Virus, BASS Conservation adopted a leadership role to face the issue. The result is an annual summit attended by leading researchers, state fishery biologists and anglers to exchange developments and implement plans of action. BASS and its coalition continue making strides to deal with LMBV while identifying other diseases or health problems, among those outbreaks of harmful algae and bacteria that can spark significant fish kills. BASS Conservation is an active participant in American Fisheries Society committees and other professional associations whose interests focus on fishery health.
Tournament fish care
Early on, BASS recognized that bass are a renewable resource and concurrently, developed the catch-and-release ethic that is standard with tournaments. BASS Conservation continues raising the bar on the practice by supporting scientific research studies focusing on care of tournament-caught bass. The latest practices and improvements are rolled out through the BASS Federation while educating anglers about how to better handle fish they intend to release. BASS Conservation extends its outreach to the general angling public to ensure a positive perception of bass fishing and tournament angling.
BASS is more
When you join BASS, you get more than just a magazine and a membership card. You are supporting over thirty years of natural resource conservation. Devoted to the challenges that lie ahead, BASS continues to work on behalf of our members and the aquatic resources we all value.
Congratulations to Tony Beck!
Team Standings Final:
Indviduals advancing to the Nationals: So. Carolina - Jeff Green, 34lbs.13ozs. ; Kentucky - Brandon Card, 40lbs. 6ozs.; No. Carolina - Rob Digh, 37lbs. 3oz.; Georgia - Tony Beck 27lbs. 12oz.; Florida - David Mock 34lbs. 5ozs.; Alabama -George Crain, 26lbs. 11ozs.; Tennessee - Donnie Cox, 32lbs. 1oz.;
All results for the Southern Divisional results are posted. CLICK HERE