The Quality of Life group of Governor Snyder’s administration released its final report on Great Lakes aquaculture today, which affirms the stance of the vast majority of Michigan voters and House Bill 5255: no commercial net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes.
“We’re pleased to see that the administration recognizes the threats that commercial net-pen aquaculture pose to the world-class fisheries supported by the Great Lakes,” said Dan Eichinger, executive director for Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “We are calling on the Legislature to send House Bill 5255 to the Governor so that his administration’s policy can be clearly and unambiguously incorporated into state law.”
House Bill 5255, introduced by Representative Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo), clears up ambiguous language in state law to clearly ban commercial net-pen aquaculture in Michigan-controlled waters of the Great Lakes, which fisheries biologists say would risk the spread of fish diseases, escapement of farmed fish, and concentrated effluent pollution.
The Quality of Life group consists of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. In relevant part, the report stated:
”The Michigan QOL agencies do not recommend pursuing of commercial net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes at this time for the following reasons... Given the ecological and environmental risks and uncertainties, as pointed out by the Science Panel and with further information provided through public input, commercial net-pen aquaculture would pose significant risks to fishery management and other types of recreation and tourism.”
The synthesis report can be viewed here: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdard/Synth-Paper-_NetPENS-09Mar2016_516439_7.pdf
This comes after an EPIC-MRA poll showed that 68% of Michigan voters oppose allowing commercial net-pen aquaculture in Michigan waters of the Great Lakes, including 77% opposition in northern Michigan, where two such facilities have been proposed.
Founded in 1937, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest nonprofit conservation organization in Michigan, representing 50,000 hunters, anglers and trappers and 250 affiliated local conservation clubs. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.