TWRA and the Maryville High School Rebels bass fishing team partnered to create awareness to help prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species in Tennessee.
In simple terms, ANS are organisms introduced into new habitats that produce harmful impacts on aquatic natural resources and on human use of these resources.
ANS are an important issue that has become a major concern in Tennessee’s waterways as they are showing up in new areas across the state. While there are over 55 different ANS in Tennessee, the two that are getting the most attention are zebra mussels and Asian carp. Both species wreak havoc on the ecosystems when introduced into new bodies of water.
TWRA saw the opportunity to help promote youth fishing and ANS awareness through the first ever Bass Pro Shop’s High School Fishing Challenge, which was open to all area high school fishing teams. The tournament series just concluded with the championship on Douglas Lake this past Saturday.
TWRA’s Statewide Hatchery and ANS Coordinator David Roddy funded the project through grant money dedicated to ANS awareness. The Bass Rebels were randomly selected by the TWRA and were provided with ANS information and outfitted with inflatable life jackets and hats bearing the ANS logo. The team placed ANS decals on their boats and educated the public about simple ways to help prevent their spread.
David Clark, who is a teacher at Coulter Grove Intermediate School, sponsored the Maryville High School fishing team and was grateful for the opportunity by stating, “Our club was honored to partner with the TWRA to promote the Aquatic Nuisance Program. It was a great educational opportunity for our student anglers to be a part of this program that has a lot of science concepts to it. The TWRA wants to educate the public by bringing awareness through programs like ANS and the Wear It program and it was a great partnership to involve our students in this project. They are the future to protecting our outdoor resources.” Maryville’s fishing team members included Jackson Lindley, Paten Sweeney, Tavon Russell, Dalton Price, Brooke Clark, and Austin Ensley.
The Rebels fared well in the tournament series by making the final cut in which the top ten teams fished Douglas Lake and weighed their catch at Bass Pro Shops, Seviervilleon Saturday. The Rebels weighed a limit of five bass totaling 10.83 lbs., which was good enough to land them in fifth place. Claiming the top spot was Craig Wilson and Spencer St. John from Campbell County H.S. with a bag of five bass totaling 16.65 lbs.
For more information on ANS in Tennessee, visit: http://www.protectyourwaters.net or http://www.state.tn.us/twra/pdfs/aquaticplan.pdf.
For more information on the Bass Pro Shops High School Fishing Challenge, visit: http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-seviervillekodak-tn/bass-pro-shops-high-school-bass-fishing-challenge.
Campbell County High School fishermen Craig Wilson (left) and Spencer St. John (right) with their first-place bag, weighing 16.65 pounds. Bass Pro Shops professional bass fishermen Woo Daves and Brad Burkhart are in the background.