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E-M:/ WI aquaculture legislation raises question about MI



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Here is a question raised by a MI person about an aquaculture bill that is
under debate in WI  -- is this an issue here in Mich?  Is there any similar
legislation or law?  Anne Woiwode


   Some depressing news on the amphibian conservation front.
Aquaculture is big business in the Upper Midwest and aquaculture
associations enjoy -- through their campaign contributions --
considerable political clout. Recently, the Wisconsin Aquaculture
Association wrote and the Wisconsin Legislature approved a bill (Ch.
29.521, Stats.) that would permit fish farming in "freeze-out" (i.e.,
seasonal and semipermanent) wetlands. No aquatic ecologists were
consulted in writing this bill. The bill was sneaked through without
opportunity for public comment.

   It is clear that neither the aquaculturists nor the legislators have any
notion of wetland ecology. As a result they are oblivious to the
environmental destruction they are about to wreak. Freeze-out wetlands
are, of course, used for breeding by most species of Upper Midwestern
amphibians and the detrimental impacts of fish introductions on
amphibians (and waterfowl for that matter) are well known.

   Most amphibian conservation issues are ultimately political issues. This
legislation was a gift by Wisconsin politicians to the aquaculturists,
presumably for their political support. The final decision on the
implementation of this legislation will be made by a "Natural Resources
Advisory Board" which is politically appointed by governor Tommy
Thompson.



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