Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MI Senator Proos Urges Action On Asian Carp

Jul 23:  Michigan State Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph) indicated in a release that a new Canadian report warns of the real threat of an Asian carp invasion that could put the health of the Great Lakes at stake and damage the boating, fishing and tourism economies of both the United State and Canada. He said, "This is the latest report that reaches the same dire conclusion: the environmental and economic impact of Asian carp if they were to invade Lake Michigan would be catastrophic. Billions of dollars in economic activity would be lost, thousands of Michigan jobs would be wiped out and our way of life in the Great Lakes region would be forever changed."

    He said, he and his colleagues are currently pushing Senate Resolution 36 urging Congress to end water diversion from the Great Lakes through Chicago to avoid contamination. Closing the Chicago locks would prevent the migration into Lake Michigan of silver and bighead carp, commonly known as Asian carp. According to the report, since Asian carp breed quickly, have no natural predators and can consume as much as 20 percent of their body weight in a day, they can monopolize food sources and push out native species. The Canadian government predicts that if Asian carp get into Lake Michigan, they would spread to Lake Huron within five years.

    Sen. Proos said, "An Asian carp infestation would wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its rivers, devastate a $7 billion fishing industry and jeopardize the livelihoods of many Michigan families. This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose, so I again urge the president to immediately close the Chicago locks to prevent an ecological and economic disaster. As families and tourists get out and enjoy Michigan waters, I encourage them to join the fight against Asian carp by learning more about the fish and reporting any suspected sightings."

    The report that Senator Proos refers to was released on July 11, by the Canadian nonprofit organization Environmental Defence. The report -- Tipping the Scales: How Canada and Ontario Can Prevent an Asian Carp Invasion of the Great Lakes -- outlines recommendations on what can be done to prevent Asian carp from establishing in the lakes. Nancy Goucher, water programs manager at Environmental Defence said, "Once Asian carp take hold of a lake or river, they wreak havoc on the ecosystem, steal food from other fish species, and are nearly impossible to get rid of. We need to act now to prevent an invasion because the cost of doing nothing is too high." She said, "The good news is that there is still time to prevent these dreaded invaders from establishing in the Great Lakes. This is an issue that affects both sides of the border, and everyone -- government and individuals -- can play a role in protecting the health of the lakes for generations to come."

    Access a release from Sen. Proos (click here). Access a release from Environmental Defence and link to the complete 24 page report (click here). Access the MDNR Asian Carp website for additional information (click here). Access the Asian Carp Management website for additional information (click here). Access the U.S. Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee website for more information (click here). [#MIGLakes, #MIWildlife]

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