Boating and fishing groups look for prompt action on Asian carp threat in Great Lakes

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association said it signed a joint letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, requesting expedited consideration of the Tentatively Selected Plan at Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The trade association says the TSP is an important measure to prevent the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes region.

NMMA is part of the recently formed Boating and Fishing Aquatic Invasive Species Coalition. The group is composed of stakeholder organizations that include the American Sportfishing Association, Association of Marina Industries, BASS, BoatUS, MRAA, MBIA, Great Lakes Fishery Commission and others. They have formed to present a united front on Aquatic Invasive Species policies at the federal level. The letter is one of the first initiatives by the group.

The letter states: “Recreational boating and angling is embedded within the Great Lakes history and economy. In 2015, the Great Lakes region accounted for 26.5 percent of all registered boats throughout the country, accounting for more than 3.1 million registered recreational boats. In the Great Lakes region, the recreational boating industry contributes $36.4 billion to the economy, provides nearly 195,000 jobs and supports more than 7,150 businesses. The fishing industry in the Great Lakes is also a robust economic driver with 1.95 million anglers, adding $5.6 billion annually to the Great Lakes regional economy and nearly 45,000 jobs.”

Asian carp, it continued, were discovered last year just nine miles from Lake Michigan. “If they were to infiltrate into the Great Lakes, it could be devastating for the region’s citizens and economy,” said the group. “Our organizations believe that the TSP at Brandon Road Lock and Dam is the most feasible current option for protecting the Great Lakes region from Asian carp.”

The current timeline would delay congressional approval until 2020 and 2021, respectively. “Our organizations respectfully urge you to conduct the senior leader’s panel this coming fall so that the TSP process can continue quickly,” the letter concluded.

The organizations requested a meeting with Assistant Secretary R.D. James to discuss the TSP and other Asian carp mitigation and prevention efforts.

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