For years, long-established bass populations have been blamed for the demise of salmon and trout populations in the Northwest. Little evidence exists to support the accusations. The truth is that these cold-water fish have declined mostly because of habitat destruction and dams blocking their migration routes, and bass, introduced during a less enlightened time, thrived in these altered habitats.
But bass and bass anglers are high profile --- and easy targets.
Bass anglers also are conservation-minded. They don’t want established bass fisheries destroyed because of a false argument. And they don’t want bass spread to waters still free from the non-native species. They know that illegal introductions present a huge challenge for fisheries managers in protecting native species and ecosystems.
Consequently, three Oregon bass organizations --- B.A.S.S. Federation Nation (BFN), The Bass Federation, and Black Bass Action Committee --- have teamed up to form Turn In Illegal Introductions (TI3). It’s a program designed to reward those who report illegal introductions. By calling 800 452-7888, anyone can anonymously report the violation and be eligible to receive up to a $3,300 reward.
“The collaboration of the three largest bass fishing organizations in Oregon to create and fund the beginnings of the program is seen as a positive step to regain the trust of the public that believes that such organizations are in favor of many introductions,” said Chuck Lang, BFN state conservation director.