LANSING, Mich. - It's not a question of if but when this aquatic menace makes a mess of Pure Michigan. The federal government has dragged its feet on doing anything meaningful about blocking a Peoria, Illinois shipping channel where we know Asian Carp are plentiful and appallingly destructive. A new report put out by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that says half a dozen tests done on Lake Erie last August showed Asian Carp DNA in half a dozen samples. It's the bad news we all hoped would not arrive at all, and at the same hoped wouldn't come so soon. The thought that a Michigan waterway would be spoiled and made utterly unnavigable by these invasive species is as disgusting as it is disturbing.
Here's a good example of how the four different species of Asian Carp will hurt us. Michigan's economy, which has foundered for more than a decade has small pockets of success. The fishing is good and getting better on the Great Lakes, on Lake St. Clare and the Detroit River.
This we know because Captain Kirk Davis of the Lakeside Fishing Charters says his business is getting better every year. He works seven days a week when the ice is out; his 23' long fishing boat called The Stress Relief uses nine outriggers and trolling gear to pull in bass, perch, Muskie and Northern Pike. He makes a good living and is eyeing a new, larger boat. But if our waterways end up despoiled by fish capable of living in an open sewer, Captain Davis could lose not just his dream of a bigger boat, he would lose the one he has and his entire business. His story would be repeated thousands of times and the billion dollar tourism industry we so enjoy here in Michigan could be in jeopardy as well.
There is a battle brewing in Washington over this entire episode, Michigan's congressional delegation knows the economic devastation these horribly ugly fish present. The feds don't much seem interested in trying to prevent the Asian Carp invasion. Let's hope everyone gets engaged before it's too late and the Captain Davis' of Michigan suffer another depressing downturn.
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