As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Montana anglers are reminded that they need to purchase a new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass.
The AIS Prevention Pass is required for all anglers, in addition to a fishing license. The cost is $2 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. This is not a license fee increase, but rather an additional requirement from the 2017 Montana Legislature to fund the fight against aquatic invasive species such as mussels.
The pass is available at all Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks license providers and online at fwp.mt.gov. If you purchased a fishing license prior to May 19, you will need to obtain an AIS pass.
“We know this will be an inconvenience for some anglers, but protecting the health of our waterways is critical,” said FWP director Martha Williams. “The AIS program we have in place is our best chance at keeping mussels from spreading to other Montana waters and at keeping other invasive species from gaining a foothold in the state.”
Also included in SB 363 was a fee for hydro-electric facilities. The AIS Prevention Pass is anticipated to generate about $3.2 million in revenue per year. The hydro-electric fee will generate about $3.7 million.
The 2017 Legislature provided additional funding for FWP’s aquatic invasive species program after the discovery last fall of aquatic invasive mussel larvae in water samples from Tiber Reservoir. The response plan includes increasing the number of inspection stations around the state, operating decontamination stations at both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoir, an expanded public education and outreach effort, and doubling the water sampling efforts for mussel larvae around Montana.
Also, because it is a separate program and not a fee increase, the pass can be purchased by non-anglers as well who would want to help contribute to Montana’s fight against aquatic invasive species.