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US state makes ban threat to forward facing sonar


Legislation being considered in Wisconsin could have a huge impact on recreational fishing throughout the US.

The outcome could see a ban on technology, in particular the use of forward-facing and 360-degree imaging.

The issue has been raised by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Spring Hearings, a process that guides the department on making laws that affect the state’s resources and the use of those resources.

The argument is that technology has increased the pressure on fish populations by making anglers more efficient in locating and catching fish.

The Wisconsin DNR has asked anglers if they would support a ban on the use of live scopes and similar imaging electronics in state waters and has invited online comments. 

The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) has urged users of the technology to voice their opinions or risk the ban going into law. States including Texas, Minnesota and North Dakota are also collecting data and input about forward facing sonar.

“Whether you employ the technology or not, we need to understand that a regulation to make a certain technology illegal will be detrimental to the sport,” says the NPAA. “FFS is used by guides, captains, tournament anglers and the general angling public to increase success on the water. It has also attracted many younger anglers who embrace technology.”

The Association also reminds anglers of the importance of respecting the resource, saying:  “Just because you are able to catch more fish doesn’t mean you should keep a limit every time you fish. It’s prudent to be conservative in your take.”

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