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GLIN==> MEDIA RELEASE: Fishing Interests Urge Legislation & Shipping Moratorium to Combat AIS



MEDIA ADVISORY: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Dr. Terry Quinney, Chair, Canadian Committee of Advisors: 705-748-6324

  Mr. Ed Sander, Chair, U.S. Commission Committee of Advisors 585-544-1830  

  Mr. Michael Ryan, Vice-Chair, U.S. Commission Committee of Advisors 219-926-7938

 

GREAT LAKES FISHING INTERESTS URGE LEGISLATION AND SHIPPING MORATORIUM TO COMBAT AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES

 

Binational advisory committee to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission deeply frustrated over inaction

 

PETERBOROUGH, ON/ ROCHESTER, NY/ CHESTERTON, IN (June 12, 2007)—Last week in Sault Ste., Marie Ontario during the 52nd annual meeting of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Canadian and U.S. committees of advisors presented the commission with a rare binational resolution urging the passage of aquatic invasive species legislation and calling for an immediate moratorium on ocean-vessel access to the Great Lakes until adequate ballast water regulations are implemented.  The committee—representing recreational and commercial fishing, Aboriginal communities, public-at-large, and academia—expressed deep concern over the continued influx of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes and disappointment over the Canadian and U.S. Governments’ inaction to remedy this serious problem.  [A complete copy of the resolution is attached.]

 

“The Great Lakes have now been invaded by at least 183 non-native species, many of which cause major harm to the interests of the people I represent,” said Canadian committee chair Dr. Terry Quinney of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.  “The problem is, once a species becomes established, control, let alone eradication, is virtually impossible.  These invaders—like zebra mussels and round gobies—reproduce, spread, and cause irreversible damage and severe economic loss.”

 

“Despite all we know about the harm from invasive species, governmental action to stop these invasions has been woefully inadequate,” said U.S. committee vice-chair Mike Ryan of the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders.  “Each new invader has the potential to destroy the fishery that is so valuable to the people of the United States and Canada.  By neglecting to take appropriate action, the governments are essentially placing a “welcome mat” at the doorstep of the Great Lakes inviting new invaders, and it is stakeholders like us and the next generation that are paying the price.”

 

“The resolution reflects widespread agreement across two countries that the situation needs to change, and it needs to change now.  Our resolution simply says that ballast water—the primary way in which these invaders enter the Great Lakes—must be managed, and until it is, ocean vessels are not welcome in our waters,” said Dr. Quinney.  “Since transportation alternatives exist, it is our responsibility to use them to protect our valuable fishery.”

 

 “The resolution presented to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and its Commissioners reflects binational agreement, and advisors encourage the commission to convey our will to government in the strongest possible terms,” said U.S. committee chair Ed Sander of Rochester New York.

 

***

 

The U.S. Committee of Advisors was created under the Great Lakes Fisheries Act of 1956 and is constituted to provide citizens with the opportunity to be heard on issues of importance to the health and sustainability of the Great Lakes fishery and to make recommendations pertinent to the commission’s duties.  Committee members are nominated to their positions by state governors and represent sport fishing, commercial fishing, and the public-at-large.  The Canadian Committee of Advisors was established for similar purposes by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  Canadian members are co-nominated by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and represent sport fishing, commercial fishing, the Aboriginal community, environmental interests, and academia.

 

Advisor Resolution Regarding Ballast

 

Whereas, the Great Lakes have been subjected to at least 183 aquatic invasive species introductions with several of these spreading to other regions, and

 

Whereas, continued introduction of aquatic invasive species are contributing to what has been termed an “invasional meltdown” of the ecosystems within the Great Lakes, causing irreversible ecological damage and contributing to severe economic loss, and

 

Whereas, aquatic invasive species have adversely affected the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy, and

 

Whereas, ballast water may provide a vector for human and fish and wildlife pathogens to enter Great Lakes waters, and

 

Whereas, vessels entering the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean are the number one source of new aquatic invasive species entering the Great Lakes, and

 

Whereas, current ballast water regulations have proven ineffective inasmuch as the rate of aquatic invasive species introductions has not slowed, and

 

Whereas, governmental action on legislation, regulation, and funding to remedy this serious problem has been woefully lacking, and

 

Whereas, meaningful, comprehensive AIS legislation has not been implemented in either the United States or Canada, despite broad consensus in the Great Lakes region that it should, and

 

Whereas competitive alternative modes of transport, (truck, train, lake carrier), are available.

 

Therefore be it Resolved that the U.S. and Canadian Advisors urge the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and its Commissioners to support the immediate passage of comprehensive federal legislation in both countries to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species, with special emphasis on ballast water regulations.

 

Be it further resolved that the U.S. and Canadian Advisors ask that the Commission and its Commissioners support a moratorium on entrance of oceangoing vessels into the Great Lakes until effective methods of ballast water treatments are implemented.

 

Passed by the U.S. and Canadian Committees of Advisors 6/6/07