A proposed Minnesota law designed to curb the spread of invasive zebra mussels is upsetting tournament anglers, who say the bill unfairly targets them.


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An amendment to an invasive species bill backed by Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen upset a fishing group, and this legislation may affect the financial benefits tournaments provide in the Alexandria area. Ingebrigtsen said 19 lakes in Minnesota are contaminated with zebra mussels, and he worked on a bill that will be accepted by the legislature to prevent the spread of the threat. Before leaving a contaminated lake, boaters will be required to drain their boats, discard of aquatic vegetation and sometimes undergo a decontamination process at a station headed by the Department of Natural Resources. “We are trying to keep (zebra mussels) contained to the lakes they are in right now,” Ingebrigtsen said. “It’s going to be a significant change for boaters.”
The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Nation President Peter Perovich said his group supports the general idea of the bill and its effort to prevent the spread of invasive species, but he said one amendment targets tournament anglers. “Why would you put an amendment in that specifically states tournament aglers?” Perovich said. “This isn’t about angling; this is about boating. That’s what AIS is about, and that’s where our opposition comes in.” Perovich said the bill targets contest anglers, but Ingebrigtsen said all boaters are held to the same standards. The bill does specifically mention tournament anglers. “The commissioner may require mandatory decontamination of boats participating in fishing contests on infested waters,” the bill states. Perovich said the legislation may affect whether tournament officials hold their events in the Alexandria area. The financial benefits of large tournaments may go to neighboring districts in order to show their opposition to the bill._

What say you, FN readers: Does the bill give everyone equal treatment or does specifically targeting tourney boats go too far?