Two key players in the bass fishing world, Shimano and B.A.S.S., have joined forces to establish the B.A.S.S./Shimano Youth Conservation Initiative, benefitting fishery enhancement and youth education efforts by B.A.S.S. Nation chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
“This is a great extension of Shimano’s long-standing natural resource stewardship philosophy and fishery conservation efforts,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano, during his announcement of the initiative taking place at the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner. “B.A.S.S. Nation members share that philosophy. We’ll be able to offer the needed financial assistance for field projects with young anglers in various states and provinces to conserve, improve and restore fisheries habitat and other aquatic resources.”
B.A.S.S. Nation conservation directors will submit proposals annually requesting initiative grant funds for projects involving youth members of their chapters. “In addition to being a funding source, the B.A.S.S./Shimano Initiative sets the bar even higher with the key requirement of bringing B.A.S.S. Nation youth members into the mix,” said Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. conservation director. “It emphasizes how important it is to teach young anglers about the value of our aquatic resources and gets them involved in hands-on projects with adult mentors and natural resource agencies.”
Morlock explains that while Shimano will fund the grants, B.A.S.S. will administer them evenly between the six B.A.S.S. Nation regions. “We believe the chapters are best able to identify the fishery conservation needs in their areas,” Morlock said, “and we realize those needs are widespread. We anticipate young anglers will benefit from first-hand field project experience that helps to teach the basics about why our wealth of abundant fish populations is often the result of hard work by dedicated volunteers who love to fish.”
Shimano has partnered with dozens of sportsmen’s organizations, government agencies and other groups on behalf of anglers and the fish they pursue. With this new cooperative agreement, the tackle manufacturer’s efforts reach a new level.
“The B.A.S.S./Shimano Youth Conservation Initiative has the potential to be one of, if not the biggest shot in the arm the B.A.S.S. Conservation program has seen in many, many years,” said Gilliland. “Despite an unparalleled passion to protect and enhance our fisheries among state B.A.S.S. Nation conservation directors, funding for on-the-ground projects is always a limiting factor. Shimano’s enduring commitment to conservation and their generous financial support will now make it possible for our B.A.S.S. Nation volunteers to accomplish so much more.”
An application packet for B.A.S.S./Shimano Youth Conservation Initiative grants will soon be available on the Bassmaster website at bassmaster.com/conservation. The submission deadline for to be considered for 2014 grants is April 30, 2014.
Logos courtesy B.A.S.S.