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, said Sen. John Proos.
“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,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “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.”
Proos 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.
“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,” Proos said. “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.”
Residents who believe they have seen or caught a silver or bighead carp are asked to contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources immediately. Visit www.michigan.gov/asiancarp to fill out an online reporting form or call 1-517-373-1280. Keep the fish and note details, such as where you caught it and when.
Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”