TULSA, Okla. – At the REDCREST 2022 Outdoor Sports Expo Presented by Costa, the Major League Fishing Fisheries Management Division in partnership with Berkley Labs made several announcements and completed the industry’s first live habitat build.
A press conference was held on March 26 officially announcing the formation of the Fisheries Management Division (FMD), as well as a partnership with Berkley Labs. During the press conference, FMD directors Steven Bardin and Gary Klein outlined two habitat projects to be completed during the 2022 Bass Pro Tour Season: MossBack Fish Habitat and Mercury Marine will support one of these projects while Berkley Labs will support the other.
“Without healthy fisheries, there is no fishing so we are proud to put the cutting edge resources of Berkley Labs to work with Major League Fishing’s Fisheries Management Division to protect and preserve waterways and fish habitats around the country,” said Berkley Senior VP of Marketing Jon Schlosser. “With decades of research and the most experienced and capable team of experts in studying fish behavior and product development, we are proud to work as part of the team committed to ensuring this passion we all share is around for generations to come.”
“This has been in the works for a very long time and we are so excited to be rolling out a full slate of conservation projects in 2022,” Klein said. “With the support of our amazing lineup of industry partners we know these events are going to be extremely beneficial for the local communities and fisheries that we visit.”
Costa Sunglasses also joined the MLF-FMD with the announcement of the Costa Clean Water Matters campaign. This campaign will work to clean up trash dumped in fisheries all over the country. SeaArk Boats will support Costa’s efforts by providing their revolutionary trash clean-up boat for use by MLF professionals during four events this season.
2022 MLF-FMD Schedule of Events:
Outside of the press event, the FMD used the REDCREST expo to provide the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) with more than 150 artificial structures. Incorporating a habitat build directly into the Expo was a first for the industry. At the Ferguson Habitat Build booth, volunteers from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance used PVC materials donated by Ferguson to construct 100 4x4x4-foot Georgia Cubes, as well as assemble a MossBack Fish Habitat. The Mossback structures were donated by MossBack, the Kevin VanDam Foundation and via fan donations at the expo.
The ODWC will deploy the majority of the habitat in Grand Lake over the next several months. Some of those units will go to Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma and to Bixhoma Lake, a small fishery south of Tulsa.
“Habitat for many of our reservoirs is being lost due to the aging process. Much of the natural fish habitat once found in a reservoir has been either buried by siltation or slowly degraded over time as it decomposes. This habitat loss must be addressed if we plan to continue to support healthy fish populations. This is why a project like the Ferguson Habitat build and partnerships with USA, MossBack Fish Habitat, the KVD Foundation and Berkley Labs is so important to MLF Fisheries Management division,” said Steven Bardin, Fisheries Biologist for the MLF-FMD.
On March 28 – less than 24 hours after Bobby Lane claimed the REDCREST trophy – the first step in the deployment of these fish structures took place with six Georgia Cubes and seven MossBack trophy trees placed by the ODWC in Bixhoma Lake. The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance volunteers, MossBack Fish Habitat owner David King, MLF co-founder Gary Klein and FMD biologist Steven Bardin assisted with the Bixhoma Lake habitat deployment.
Tulsa’s KOTV News on 6 covered the habitat deployment live via helicopter and on the water with anchor Tess Maune joining to place three of the MossBack Fish Habitats under a handicap accessible dock.
The GPS locations for these and all the future habitat locations will be available under the “Where to Fish” tab on the ODWC website along with in their interactive state habitat map.
Proud partners of the MLF Fisheries Management Division include: Berkley Labs, Costa Sunglasses, SeaArk, Mercury Marine, Ferguson and MossBack Fish Habitat.
For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the MLF Fisheries Management Division, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com/fisheries-management. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.