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Obituary of the Great Lakes Fishing Industry.

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To my loved Yellow Perch, Whitefish and Walleye, RIP...you will be missed.


To all the sportsmen and women who spend about $9 billion a year on boats, harbor fees, motel rooms, gas, food, and gear across the Great Lakes. It was a fine run since the 1900s; good bye.


To the few commercial fishing companies left that ply the waters for $7 billion in fresh fish; so long.


Ill be by the Bay Port Fish Company this summer, maybe next to stock up the freezer, take some pictures and wish Connie and Tod well. I will miss seeing the Argos and Osprey come into Caseville harbor with her holds full of whitefish.


Chicago wants its stinking canal openthus an era is about to end. My sons will remember this time...but their sons wont. So sad.


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The Great Lakes continues to face threats from species introduced via the Atlantic Ocean. One of the latest is the Round Goby which has established populations in all of the Great Lakes, and is affecting the perch populations now. Sea Lampreys, Zebra Mussels, Alewives, Rainbow Smelt - all made their way into the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean. The biggest factor in these introductions was the improvements made to the Welland Canal which allowed large vessels to enter Lake Erie from Lake Ontario.


No one has sued Ontario to try to get the Welland Canal closed down, yet there are still potential threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem coming from the Atlantic Ocean. No one sued Michigan and Ontario to try to stop the Round Goby from entering Lakes Michigan, Huron or Superior when they were found in Lake St. Clair. No one has sued Ontario to shut down the Trent-Severn Waterway, a canal system between Lake Ontario to Lake Huron to prevent the possible migration on non-native species through that channel.


(I write this under the assumption that everyone understands that the St. Lawrence Seaway/River is a direct connection from the Atlantic Ocean into Lake Ontario, the Welland Canal a connection between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair being a natural lake in a natural channel between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, which in turn is directly connected to Lakes Michigan and Superior).


The Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Illinois have been working together since 2002 to stop the spread of the some species of Asian Carp. They've been pretty successful so far considering scientists thought the carp would make it into the Great Lakes by 2005 no matter what was tried. No such programs were tried to prevent the Round Goby from leaving Lake St. Clair when it was found.


Now the Army Corps of Engineers states that Asian Carp DNA has been found in Lake Michigan. What I find interesting is they don't say what they sampled to find Asian Carp DNA. Was it a fish? Was it the stomach contents of a fish that may have eaten a carp fry? Was it blue-green algae which is known to move through the digestive tract of carp without being digested? If it was a fish, which species of carp was it? Lake Michigan has Grass Carp in it right now - and Grass Carp is one of the "Asian Carps".


It's always interesting when the media and politicians report or use what scientists say without thinking about what they're really saying. They tend to find one or two sentences that support the slant they want known even if everything else in a report indicates something completely different. Since 2002, Great Lakes scientists have indeed said Asian Carp "may" have the worst impact on the Great Lakes than any other invasive species. Of course, with that "may" is the non-stated "may not". The reports from Great Lakes scientists, even those that worked for the State of Michigan, also said they just didn't know what kind of impact Asian Carp could have on the lakes, and that there might not be a big impact on the Great Lakes (it's hard to believe that any invasive species could have a greater impact on the Great Lakes that the Sea Lamprey which wiped out the fisheries in Lake Michigan). Many of the Great Lakes scientists said that the bigger possibility is that Asian Carp would have the greatest impact on the comparatively shallow Lake Erie and would likely be concentrating along the shorelines of the other Great Lakes because they are not a deep water species. If that's the case, the impact on commercial and sports fishing may be much less than the alarmists are saying (but then again, may not). Reports in the past have also said the Round Goby may be have the greatest negative impact on the Great Lakes. And let's not forget that Bighead Carp were already caught in Lake Erie back in 2005. It's possible that Bighead Carp will find it's way into Lake St. Clair from Erie rather than from the Mississppi River, and from there into Lake Huron. We just don't know. It's possible that even if we shut down the canals in Illinois, the Silver and Bighead Carp will eventually make it's way into the Great Lakes anyway. Again, we just don't know. It's also possible that these carp have been in Lake Michigan since the 90's when these carp first escaped from fish farms and made their way into the Mississippi River and we just haven't seen them yet - again, we just don't know. For all we know, the fry of these carp will be food to salmon, trout, perch and whitefish. Again, we just don't know.


Finally, let's not give in to the overblown hype of the media and political alarmists. First, the Great Lakes ecosystem is not "fragile". The ecosystem really doesn't care which fish are in the lake - as long as a balance is maintained - and Ma Nature is pretty good at bringing damaged ecosystems back to balance if we give her a chance to do so. A $7 Billion dollar commercial and sports fishery isn't going to vanish overnight sinces it's spread out over an awful lot of real estate. The commercial and sports fisheries made a pretty good comeback after they were devasted in the 1950's. The recreational tourism isn't going to be affected much at all, no matter what's in the lakes. (Where did that $9 Billion come from? Every report I've read has stated $7 Billion directly attributed to the Great Lakes not $7 Billion + $9 Billion).


We're making an effort to prevent something that may have already occurred - no one has their head in the sand over this, and no one ever has. But now we have a politician who wanted to make hay with his constituency and as a result have another non-crisis crisis on our hands.(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)

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"A politician?" Its five states and a Canadian Provence. The $9B figure came from an op-ed piece in the Huron Daily Tribune written by Terry Brown State Rep for the 84th District of Michigan. Thats a combined figure of sports fishing and related boating industry.


Were making an effort CalicoPenn are you personally involved in this somehow?


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