No time to wait for carp studies

To the Expositor:

Despite warnings from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and environmental groups that the Asian carp poses a “dire threat” to the environment and economy of the Great Lakes region, the US Supreme Court has refused to order emergency measures to prevent the carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

The Army Corps of Engineers is promoting a plan to complete a study of the invading carp by 2015. The five states and environmentalists point out that the invaders have already advanced up the Mississippi River and its tributaries to within 55 miles of Lake Michigan. There have already been reports of Asian carp in Lake Michigan. There is no time to wait three years for a study to be completed and years after that for the recommendations to be implemented. The states want emergency measures taken now to hold back the invaders and the study expedited to get measures executed as soon as possible to stop the invasion.

The Obama administration has devoted more than $100 million to shielding the lakes from the carp and recently announced plans to spend $51.5 million this year. Plans include operating and monitoring an electric fish barrier near Chicago, stepped-up commercial fishing in the area, and field testing new strategies such as high-pressure underwater guns and pheromones that could lure carp into lethal traps.

It is time for vested economic interests in Chicago to be set aside and the protection of the Marine Biodiversity of the Great Lakes to be the paramount concern. Since the Great Lakes are a shared resource it would behoove Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian politicians to not only participate in the battle to stop the Asian carp invasion, but to encourage our American neighbours to move now to enact emergency measures before it is to late.

Gaye Smith, Former Chairman

Temagami Stewardship Council