Few things today raise the ire of this country’s citizens as much as news that some government is going to add to the list of regulations already imposed on their favorite pastime or the business that provides their livelihood.
That’s understandable, and most of us could come up with a list of government regulations we deem overbearing and unnecessary.
We can support a list of regulations the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will impose on Jan. 1, however, even as we acknowledge it has raised the ire of many fishermen and fisherwomen.
Some regulations really are necessary, and the wildlife, parks and tourism commission is doing what it must to slow the spread of invasive species that live in Kansas streams, rivers and lakes.
It may already be too late to corral zebra mussels, but there are other invasive species — such as Asian carp — whose migration might be slowed by the commission’s latest regulations.
As of Jan. 1, wild-caught live bait can be used only in the body of water where it is captured, and even then it cannot be taken across a dam or natural barrier on the same stream or river. It also will be illegal to transport live fish from a body of water designated as containing “aquatic nuisance species;” release any fish from another body of water into state-owned waters, navigable public rivers or federal reservoirs; and to transport boats on public highways unless all livewells and bilges are drained and drain plugs are removed when the boat exits the water.
The rules against movement of wild-caught live bait is designed to curb the spread of Asian carp, which closely resemble gizzard shad. Asian carp have spread to the Kansas River. The Asian silver carp has a habit of jumping from the water when disturbed and has been known to collide with people fishing in boats, which can cause severe injuries.
The regulations requiring livewells and bilges to be emptied and drainplugs removed target zebra mussels, which are common in some of the state’s lakes and spillways. Those rules, and the one against transporting live fish from a body of water known to contain “aquatic nuisance species,” will be a nuisance for people who like to eat some of what they catch and now prefer to do the cleaning after leaving the lake.
Nuisance or not, though, we don’t know that the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission had much choice in the matter. Doing nothing doesn’t seem like the right approach to a real problem.
And the people who fish and otherwise use the state’s streams, rivers and lakes should be just as interested as the commission in trying to control the spread of invasive species.
Members of The Capital-Journal Editorial Board are Gregg Ireland, Mike Hall, Fred Johnson, Ray Beers Jr., Garry Cushinberry, Joyce Martin, John Stauffer, Frank Ybarra and Sally Zellers.
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