1/11/13

IISG heads to the outdoor shows to kick off 2013

Sarah Zack and Danielle Hilbrich, members of IISG’s aquatic invasive species outreach team, set up a booth and talked with hundreds of visitors at the Let’s Go Fishing Show in Collinsville, IL January 4-6. They attended the show in order to provide more information to fishermen and boaters about the dangers of aquatic invasive species, and introduce them to some simple practices that can help reduce the spread of invasives.

Many visitors to the IISG booth had experienced Asian carp jumping at their boats while on the water, and were very interested in ways they could protect themselves while fishing and boating in infested waters. In addition, Danielle and Sarah encouraged anyone that catches an Asian carp – accidently or on purpose - to cook it up and eat it. Asian carp have mild-tasting, white, flaky flesh that takes seasoning and marinades very well. Asian carp are a healthy choice too, since they're low in contaminants and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Many attendees said they were willing to try cooking Asian carp, so Danielle and Sarah shared recipes with them as well as copies of Louisiana Sea Grant’s video on how to fillet Asian carp (which can be found on IISG’s Asian carp page).

The booth was highly visited throughout the weekend, and Danielle and Sarah had the chance to hand out hundreds of Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!™ stickers and brochures while offering people more information about invasive species. The booth was even featured on a 92.3 WIL, a popular St. Louis country radio station, and radio host Bo Matthews briefly talked with Sarah Zack about AIS prevention steps that people can take to stop the spread of AIS – inspecting for and removing aquatic plants and animals from equipment, draining all water, disposing of live bait in the trash, and drying recreational equipment before visiting another waterbody. Bo Matthews strongly supports IISG’s AIS-prevention message, and even put a Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! sticker on the radio station truck to help spread the word.

The IISG AIS team will be visiting more shows and events all year to talk to boaters and fishermen throughout the Great Lakes region about aquatic invasive species. They will be hosting booths at the Illinois Fish and Feather Expo in Bloomington, IL January 25-27 and the Tinley Park Fishing Show in Tinley Park, IL February 9-10. 

For more information on aquatic invasive species or the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! campaign please visit IISG’s Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker’s page or www.protectyourwaters.net.

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant AIS outreach team is part of the Illinois Natural History Survey Lake Michigan Biological Station, and is housed at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL.

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