Stiffer Penalties for Introducing Invasive Species

Grass Carp, image courtesy of Michigan DNR.
As of May 22nd, 2014 the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes passed a series of bills with bipartisan support that will further penalize those who introduce nonnative species to our waters: SB 795 (Kowall, R-White Lake), SB 796 (Meekhof, R-Ottowa County), SB 797 (Pavlov, R- Lapeer), SB 799 (Casperson, R- Escanaba) SB 800 (Walker, R- Grand Traverse). Hoping to discourage the growing Asian carp trade, knowing violators would now be subject to greater fees and possible license revocation. The series of five bills are tie-barred together and only become effective when all bills are enacted into law. MUCC supports the actions of the legislature on upholding the interests of Michigan’s outdoors when faced with a potentially devastating environmental threat. The greater deterrents that are proposed send a clear message to violators that there are serious consequences to their actions. Threats such as the Asian Carp and other invasive species are both environmentally and financially costly for Michigan citizens. This series of bills helps protect Michigan’s ecosystem for those who knowingly bring in prohibited species. Below is a brief summary of the specific bills. To learn more about the bills, please visit the links provided above to the full text of the legislation and analyses.
  • SB 795- Violation to result in a maximum of three years and up to $100,000 for violations involving aquatic prohibitive species; Vehicles or equipment subject to seizure and forfeiture; Suspension of commercial fishing license for one year.
  • SB 796- Amend the sentencing guideline for Criminal Code of Procedure to reflect changes within SB 795 for aquatic species.
  • SB 797- Amend the Revised Judicature Act to include the provision of crimes relating to part 413 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act regarding seizure and forfeiture of property.
  • SB 799- Amend the Administrative Procedures Act to not include an opportunity to show compliance with the law in regards to a commercial fishing license or permit suspended or revoked under SB 795.
  • SB 800- A person that introduces a prohibited aquatic invasive species will result in the suspension of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses for one year. Requirements for the reinstatement of licenses are also provided.
Thanks to MUCC's Glassen Scholar Kyle Johnson for his work on this story!

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