Asian carp are a serious threat to our waterways, our livelihood and the quality of life of many mid-Michigan residents.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Asian carp are a serious threat to our waterways, our livelihood and the quality of life of many mid-Michigan residents. This serious matter must be addressed immediately, as the carp will surely migrate upstream from the Great Lakes into our rivers and streams.
In late 2009 DNA tests found that Asian carp are within eight miles of Lake Michigan after making it past an electrical fish barrier in the Chicago Canal. While Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and officials from other states fought to force closure of the Chicago River Canal, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request for a temporary shutdown of the canal.
The Michigan Senate is dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes and fighting the Asian carp and other invasive species. Unfortunately, there is only so much we can do at the state level.
Recently two Michigan Senate panels convened a joint hearing to discuss the threat of invasive species, such as Asian carp, and passed resolutions late last year urging the federal government to protect the Great Lakes and Michigan’s multibillion dollar fishing and boating industries from Asian carp.
The Senate also approved resolutions encouraging the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to act immediately to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and develop long-term strategies to address this problem.
Our commercial and recreational fishing industry contributes $7 billion to the state’s economy, while the Great Lakes recreational boating industry adds $9 billion more.
These invasive fish could disrupt the ecological balance and threaten fishing and boating if allowed to enter the Great Lakes. Asian carp are voracious feeders that could push out native wildlife. One of the two Asian carp species can jump up to 10 feet out of the water when startled by boats, injuring boaters hit by fish that can weigh up to 70 pounds.
The fate of our lakes clearly rests in the hands of the federal government. Congressman Dave Camp has been leading the charge on this important challenge for several years, and I applaud him. I strongly urge President Barack Obama and other members of Michigan’s congressional delegation to help stop the Asian carp from running rampant in our lakes.
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