Wisconsin Sea Grant today extended congratulations to the Apostle Islands Sport Fishermen’s Association (AISA), which received the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’s 2016 Local Conservation Organization of the Year Award last Friday. It was during the congress’s three-day statewide annual meeting.
The award cited the association’s 36-year track record to improve both the fishery and the habitat in the Apostle Islands. Recently, AISA spearheaded an initiative with Wisconsin Sea Grant to alert anglers and boaters to the dangers of so-called ghost nets in Lake Superior. The nets are commercial fishing nets that have broken free of moorings, which then drift—picking up debris and continuing to trap fish. If anglers or boaters become entangled in the nets, they run the risk of damaging boats, equipment or even capsizing. The sport fisherman’s association and Sea Grant have collaborated with Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission on the effort.
“Al House of the Apostle Islands Sport Fishermen’s Association spearheaded this safety effort that is protecting property and even lives,” said Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Titus Seilheimer. “We know the message is getting out there. Just last summer, for example, we heard from the National Park Service that they knew what to do when rangers encountered a ghost net at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Our ghost net education pointed them in the right direction for removal and disposal that cleaned up an area and removed a safety hazard.”
Since 1980, the AISA has engaged in other worthwhile activities, including:
· Acting as an essential partner in the creation of the Gull Island Refuge to provide protection to the Lake Trout that reproduced on the Gull Island Shoals. This refuge has been one of the most important factors in the successful restoration of Lake Trout in the Apostle Islands.
· Developing habitat for the Piping Plover, an endangered species that nests in the Chequamegon Bay area.
· Formulating innovative stocking programs for walleye and chinook salmon.
House is also a longtime member of the Wisconsin Sea Grant Advisory Council.
The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is a statutory body of citizen-elected delegates that advises the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board and Department of Natural Resources.
Apostle Islands Sport Fishermen’s Association Website