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Seventh US state bans felt-soled footwear

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South Dakota has become the seventh US state to ban felt-soled boots and waders.

South Dakota has become the latest US state to ban felt-soled waders and wading boots, bringing the number of states currently enforcing the ban to seven.

With a further six states considering a ban, the situation is becoming increasingly serious for manufacturers making significant revenue from felt-soled footwear.

While felt is widely regarded as providing the best grip, its use has come under criticism for its propensity to transfer disease from one water to another. The debate has rumbled on in the media, on fishing blogs and online networks since the move to outlaw felt began in 2009.

The anti-felt movement appeared to have gained considerable traction in 2011 when leading manufacturer Simms Fishing Products announced that it would cease to use felt soles in its products, only to reverse that decision after feedback from consumers who were reluctant to stop using felt soles.

When adopting the ban in Idaho in 2011, authorities issued a statement congratulating those manufacturers offering alternatives to felt soles, applauding their foresight for ‘offering products that reduce the threat and potential transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS)’.

The campaign to outlaw felt is championed by the Centre for Aquatic Nuisance Species (CANS) and is part of its larger goal to reduce the ecological and economic impact of invasive species by humans.

Those states with a ban already in place are: Alaska, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont, with restrictions being imposed either by the state legislature or by the Fish and Game Commission. Other states considering a ban include Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, New York City and Oregon.


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