Michigan groups plan Asian carp summit

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The Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Boating Industries Association and the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association announced co-sponsorship of the first Asian Carp Summit to be held Sept. 13 during the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Industry Legislative Conference at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing.

The summit represents the first time Michigan tourism business and outdoor recreation groups have collaborated on an issue of common concern.

Asian carp have been working their way up the Mississippi River basin since their initial release from flooded fish farms in the southern United States in the 1970s. These invasive species are as close as northern Illinois and DNA traces have been found in waters above an electric barrier designed to prevent their entry into the Great Lakes.

“The potential destruction of a $3.6 billion commercial and sports fishing industry and $3.9 billion boating industry by Asian carp should be alarming to all segments of Michigan's leadership,” MBIA president John Ropp said in a statement. “And the thought of a 40-pound silver carp jumping in front of a boat traveling at 30 miles per hour is chilling to pleasure boaters everywhere. We must act now to prevent such possibilities.”

The ultimate goal of the summit is to seek passage of a concurrent House/Senate resolution calling on Congress to act immediately to pass the Stop Asian Carp Act sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. The act would require the speedy creation of an action plan to permanently separate Lake Michigan from the Chicago Area Waterway System, where experts believe Asian carp could enter and cause irreparable harm to the Great Lakes.