Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans Joins Great Lakes Fishery Commission for Risk Assessment
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Today, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and Canadian Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea announced a joint project to assess the risk Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes. The Canadian government initiated the eighteen month review which will include both Canadian and American scientists and will be open to peer review.
In response to this announcement, Mark Biel, chairman of UnLock Our Jobs, released the following statement:
“I appreciate the efforts of Minister Shea and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in remaining proactive on this issue. Understanding the risk posed by our common enemy is vital to ensuring we take appropriate steps to combat Asian carp. That being said, it is important to keep in mind the growing consensus among scientists is that the Great Lakes do not provide friendly environmental conditions to support a self-sustaining population of Asian carp – plankton levels, currents and water temperature are simply inhospitable to the species.
“If we are to pursue these kinds of risk assessments, let’s make sure we do things right. Not only should we look at the fishing industry but also the potentially drastic negative impacts on water quality that could result from hydrological separation. Additionally, as the GLFC points out, Asian carp have existed in the Mississippi River system since the 1970s. It’s important that as part of this study, the GLFC examines the impacts, if any, the species has had on the health of those ecosystems and the degree to which Asian carp have successfully populated lake systems similar to the Great Lakes elsewhere in the world. To that point, Asian carp have been found in Lake Erie as far back as 1997 and yet, to date, the species has yet to flourish or establish a self-sustaining population.
“I am disheartened, however, by the GLFC’s characterization of the Mississippi basin as the ‘primary pathway of concern for Asian carps.’ Over 30 potential waterway connections have been identified by which Asian carp could enter the Great Lakes, and there’s the always present threat of accidental human introduction as well. It’s important that these potential entry points be evaluated and protected against. The repeated innuendo that the lone specimen discovered this June in Lake Calumet is evidence of a failure by the current barriers or a larger lurking fish population is misleading and unhelpful to this debate.”
For additional information and resources, please visit our website at www.unlockourjobs.com.
To speak with any UnLock Our Jobs experts, please contact Lisa Burgess at email@example.com or (202) 257-0983.
UnLock Our Jobs is a coalition dedicated to protecting the essential waterway connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River corridor. A project of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, coalition members represent agriculture, business, labor, river communities, and concerned citizens working towards a comprehensive solution to stop the spread of Asian carp, while leaving the Chicago locks open to commerce.