Michigan Senate calls for action to fight Asian carp invasion

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate has approved a resolution co-sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn urging federal action to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

“Monroe County is the Walleye Capital of the World and one of 40 counties in Michigan to touch at least one of the Great Lakes,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The lakes are a wonderful resource, and it is our duty to protect them. The threat we are facing from Asian carp cannot be overstated. Asian carp breed quickly, have no natural predators and can consume as much as 20 percent of their body weight in a day.

“If Asian carp get into the Great Lakes, the environmental and economic impact would be catastrophic. It is a battle that we simply cannot afford to lose.”

The Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee was formed in May 2014 with the goal of reaching consensus on short- and long-term measures to prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from moving between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through the Chicago Area Waterway System.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 supports the committee’s recommendations to implement immediate control technologies at Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois, and to further investigate the specific system of control points for long-term movement of aquatic invasive species into and out of the Great Lakes.

“Asian carp have traveled 90 miles closer to Lake Michigan in the past few years and are now only 47 miles away. We do not have the luxury of time,” Zorn said. “We need quick action to help prevent a disaster that would decimate our vibrant fishing, tourism and boating industries and put at risk the livelihoods of thousands of Michigan families.”

SCR 7 says that the carp are voracious filter feeders and could out-compete the native fish of the Great Lakes, threatening a $7 billion sport and commercial fishery.

“Fishing and boating have long been among Michigan’s premier outdoor activities — attracting tourists to our state and helping make Michigan such a great place to live,” Zorn said. “We refuse to accept leaving our lakes vulnerable to an Asian carp invasion that would forever change our way of life and wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its rivers.”