By Doug Draper
They are on the verge of invading the Great Lakes waters and if they do, it could spell disaster for native fish and other forms of life in and around the waterbodies.
They are Asian carp, a voracious eater capable of growing more than three feet long and weighing more than 100 pounds, that were imported to the southern United States from the Far East in the 1970s and have since found their way into the Mississippi River watershed to within striking distance of Lake Michigan.
An electric barrier, now being installed and maintained by U.S. agencies in a water system connected to Lake Michigan, is about the only thing preventing an all-out invasion of the Great Lakes where these fish could empty the lakes of nutrients necessary for the survival of native wildlife. A worst-case scenario could be the loss of a commercial and recreational fishery worth billions of dollars to Canada and the United States.
Great Lakes United, a Buffalo, New York-based coalition representing numerous individuals and organizations around the U.S. and Canadian shores of the lakes, including environmentalists, labour unions Native American groups, anglers, academics, and businesses and industries, has been pressing for public hearings public interest organizatons around the lakes, is pressing U.S. authorities for public hearings to address more full-proof strategies for keeping Asian Carp out of the lake waters. The coalition is asking for more Canadian citizens to sign a petition pressing for those hearings.
Niagara At Large is posting a message from from Great Lakes United, urging Canadians to add their name to the petition no later than Monday, February 13, along with a link for signing the petition on line, immediately below. NAL joins the coalition in urging you to add your name to it.
Canadian citizens, please act now.
Last call for signatures on a petition requesting public hearings on Asian Carp
In December the Great Lakes United coalition passed a resolution in support of Canadian input into U.S. hydroseparation studies, to aide efforts preventing an Asian carp invasion into the Great Lakes.
The Asian carp are poised to invade the Great Lakes via U.S. waterways and efforts are underway in the U.S. to stop them. However, the Great Lakes are international waters, and the Asian carp are an international threat. If this fish invades the Great Lakes via U.S. waterways, they will have gained access to Canadian waters of the Great Lakes as well direct access to Canadian tributaries and inland rivers.While Ontario and the federal government have provided some logistical assistance to control efforts in the Chicago Area Waterway System, Canadian citizens need to demand that the provincial and federal governments do more than take a wait and see approach.
In early 2012, Great Lakes United, in collaboration with Ecojustice and Sierra Club-Ontario, will be delivering our coalition resolution and a petition signed by concerned Canadian citizens to the federal Ministers of Natural Resources, Environment and Fisheries and Oceans, the Ontario Ministers of Natural Resources and the Environment, and appropriate Ministers of Parliament. The petition asks for public hearings to ensure that Canadian concerns and input regarding effective ways to address the threat of an Asian carp invasion are heard, and that input be recorded and transmitted to U.S. agencies working on Asian carp prevention.
Canadian citizens please go to www.glu.org/asiancarppetition2011 to sign the petition online by Monday, February 13, 2012. Please distribute!
Find the Great Lakes United coalition resolution here.
For more on efforts to separate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin in the Chicago area, visit: http://glc.org/ans/chicagowaterway.html
Take action today! Thank you for your help in stopping the invasive Asian carp.