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GLIN==> News Release - ANS-Free Bait?



                                 MN SEA GRANT
                                 NEWS RELEASE
7/11/01
Contact: Jeff Gunderson, Associate Director
(218) 726-8715, jgunder1@d.umn.edu

                                    ANS-Free Bait?

Your salad might be MSG-free and its dressing might be fat-free but is
your live bait ANS-free?  ANS (aquatic nuisance species) include a
collection of 160 species of plants and animals that damage waterways
in states around the Great Lakes.

Bait producers, fish farmers, and public fish hatchery personnel
understand that their professions could spread ANS and might be hurt by
an inability to ensure that stocks are ANS-free.  The Great Lakes Sea
Grant Network has adapted a standardized food-preparation safety
process developed by Pillsbury, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical
Control Point), to help bait and aquaculture industries tackle ANS.

The ANS-HACCP approach identifies pathways through which ANS and
non-target aquatic species could enter aquaculture and baitfish
operations.  It also includes methods to prevent accidental transfer of
these species and verification plans.

"This processŠcould help eliminate accidental introductions through
stocking programs," said Bob Pitman, invasive species coordinator of
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Region 2.  His concern about
stocking was driven home last year when a gizzard shad was collected in
Lake Powell, UT.  Shad might have been accidentally introduced upstream
over four years earlier when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocked
Morgan Lake with largemouth bass.

"Most aquaculture operations pose little risk for spreading ANS," said
Jeff Gunderson, aquaculture specialist with the University of Minnesota
Sea Grant Program.  "However, some baitfish and fish raised for
stocking do pose a risk.  ANS-HACCP programs identify the points in a
process that could jeopardize a product and emphasize
scientifically-based methods to control hazards.  An effective plan is
a self-inspection system that promotes communication between regulators
and industry," Gunderson said.

Wild baitfish harvesters and fish farmers (both private and public) who
raise baitfish or fish for stocking can develop ANS-HACCP plans that
are unique to their operations.  After consulting bait harvesters,
hatchery managers, and bait dealers about ANS since 1997, the Minnesota
and Michigan Sea Grant Programs have successfully piloted ANS-HACCP
workshops and published a training manual.  Minnesota Sea Grant will
oversee the production of a training video this summer.  The program
could lead to certification of ANS-free bait in stores, similar to
organic certification for food.

Michigan Sea Grant staff are working on a poster suitable for bait
shops in the Great Lakes region to remind staff to look for exotic
species in the bait they sell to customers.  "Sea Grant's new bait
store poster will help the industry do its part in stopping the spread
of ANS," said Dick Weidenhamer, president of the Michigan Bait Dealer's
Association.  "We are happy to help get the word out."

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant has created and is distributing "Protect Our
Waters--Don't Dump Bait" stickers to bait dealers and interested
anglers.  These waterproof stickers, designed for placement on bait
buckets and tackle boxes, remind anglers to dispose of bait properly.

Sea Grant programs in Pennsylvania and Ohio are also participating in
the project.  The project managers would like to remind anglers who
collect their own bait not to discard water into different waterbodies
since zebra mussel veligers and invasive waterfleas can be microscopic,
and also not to release unwanted live bait, crayfish, or aquatic
plants.

                                --30--



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