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Charter fishing groups demand further federal action on Asian carp

Charter fishing groups want federal officials to act further to prevent an invasive species from entering the Great Lakes as they fear dire consequences to their businesses.

A coalition of charter boat captains from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River is asking Congress to do more, saying additional action is needed to stop the spread of Asian carp.

“While we are pleased with the steps taken so far to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan, it’s not enough. We need permanent solutions as fast as possible,” Denny Grinold, owner of Fish N Grin Charter Service in Michigan, said in a written statement issued Tuesday. “We keep hearing Congress is getting Asian carp fatigue, but our livelihoods depend on keeping these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes and the only fail-proof solution is separating the two watersheds.”

The introduction of silver and bighead carp into the Great Lakes ecosystem would threaten a $5 billion commercial fishing industry, supporters of additional measures say.

These fish “dominate whole ecosystems,” the groups said, and would outcompete other fish species for food and resources. Silver carp are startled easily and are known to jump 8 feet out of the water when disturbed by a passing boat.

“Invasive species are bad for business and bad for the environment. Once Asian carp arrive, it will be almost impossible to remove them and they are not waiting on Congress to take action,” Dave Spangler, vice president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, said in a written statement.

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