For the good of the resource: MN-FISH Sportfishing Foundation and Coalition
Minnesota has been my home for the last 38 years, and I never take for granted the resources at my fingertips. The amount of great fishing within a half-hour of my home is incredible. I may cuss the Minnesota DNR at times, but through my 30-plus-year career communicating about the outdoors, I have worked with many state agencies and I find we have some of the finest resource managers in the country.
All that said, there has always been a gap between the Legislature and anglers. A recently formed organization called the MN-FISH Sportfishing Foundation and Coalition is addressing this situation.
According to the MN-FISH website, its mission is to:
- Provide a strong voice for Minnesota anglers and fishing-related businesses before the State Legislature and DNR regarding all things fishing.
- Advocate, protect and restore aquatic fish and spawning habitat in lakes, rivers and streams.
- Seek greater reinvestment back into sport fishing, representing a portion of the estimated $271 million in annual state taxes derived from Minnesota’s $4.2 billion fishing and marine industry.
- Support scientific and common-sense fish management for all gamefish species, and review DNR fish stocking policies and fish management programs to maximize anglers’ success.
- Seek funding and assist in expanding the Minnesota Fishing Museum/Hall of Fame/Education Center programs and facility.
- Advocate and promote youth fishing recruitment and fishing programs in school curriculums to sustain the next generation of anglers.
- Become a grassroots sportfishing, marine and angler advocacy network to give anglers a voice in all fishing-related issues.
- Advocate and seek funding for new investment in fish hatcheries, public accesses, fishing piers and shore fishing facilities.
There are several Minnesota celebrities promoting the new organization, including Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famers Al Lindner, Ron Schara, Steve Pennaz, Babe Winkelman, John Peterson, Chip Leer, Dick Sternberg, Tom Neustrom and many more. It’s a good sign when all of the top anglers in the state support something.
It costs nothing to join the organization. You just visit the group’s website and sign up as a charter member. There are other levels of membership that have a monetary amount attached, so if you’re feeling generous and would like to upgrade, the group will appreciate that.
Whether you are an avid angler who spends vast amounts of time on the water fishing or just an occasional angler who gets out a few times a year, having an organization looking out for the resources that provide a pastime for a huge segment of the state’s population is a tremendous benefit and one that we should support wholeheartedly. I’m encouraged as I see MN-FISH growing and establishing a group that will support my passion in the realm of legislation. That’s a place where all of our voices need to be louder.