Message from Bob Gilbert:
I am looking for comments on this proposal. Please email me using the contact page, you can find me under Executive Director – Bob Gilbert.
2021 MONTANA FISHING ENHANCEMENT ACT
PREAMBLE Whereas sport fishing is part of Montana’s rich outdoor heritage, and fishing is culturally important to over two hundred thousand residents of Montana, 100,000 out-of-state visitors and whereas sport fishing is a $280,000,000 dollar industry in Montana, and whereas the total angler days of fishing in Montana appears to be declining for both resident anglers and visitors, and that a very large percent of the sport fish caught in Montana are non-native fish, NOW THEREFORE it is policy of the State Montana to:
1. Recognize the cultural importance of sport fishing in Montana for all important fish species.
2. Recognize the economic importance of sport fishing in Montana
3. Give equal recognition to both native fish and important non-native fish of economic and cultural importance.
4. Important Montana fish species include non-native Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout; Westslope Cutthroat Trout; Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout; Bull Trout; Arctic Grayling; Mountain Whitefish; Northern Pike; Walleyes; Yellow Perch; Kokanee Salmon; Largemouth Bass; Smallmouth Bass; Crappies; Catfish; Sauger; non-native Lake Trout; and Lake Superior Whitefish.
5. Montana FWP shall take all appropriate steps to improve and enhance fishing opportunities in Montana for all species of importance
6. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks shall update the state fisheries management plan to ensure maintaining healthy and viable populations for all fish of importance as mentioned in this legislation. The update of the state fish management plan shall include extensive public meetings and will consider public input.
7. Any fish management project to assist native threatened or endangered or sensitive fish species, which reduces sport fishing opportunities for other fish species of importance, shall provide for replacement sport fishing opportunities of the fish species displaced.
8. All existing fish hatcheries shall be kept open and in full production similar to average hatchery production for the last five years. FWP shall provide a complete assessment of the current fish hatchery system, future needs and recommended changes, including budget requirements to the 2023 Legislature