Cool orders ban on asian carp, snakehead fish: MI

Article Posted: February 07, 2003

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Cool orders ban on asian carp, snakehead fish

At the regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission
today in Gaylord, DNR Director K.L. Cool signed an emergency order
banning possession and transportation of live asian carp and snakehead
fish, as well as eggs of these species.

Cool said the order, which carries the weight of law, is meant to
prevent the spread of these exotic species into Michigan waters. Asian
carp and snakehead fish have not been found in Michigan waters to-date,
but DNR Fisheries biologists said both species would have dramatic
negative impacts on the waters, as well as native fish species.

Several varieties of asian carp, including bighead, silver and black,
escaped into the Mississippi River from Arkansas aquaculture
impoundments during floods in the mid-1990's. Another source of spread
are fish markets, which sell them live for use in ceremonies that entail
setting one fish free for each one killed and prepared as food. Capable
of growing in excess of 100 lbs. and feeding exclusively on plankton and
algae, these carp have been moving steadily northward. Biologists
believe that if they reach the Great Lakes, it could permanently disrupt
the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.

"Asian bighead carp have infested the Mississippi River as far north as
the Chicago Canal, and many pet stores in Michigan continue to sell
varieties of snakehead fish despite documented evidence that they can
quickly infest and devastate native fish populations in the inland lakes
of states with climates similar to Michigan," Cool said. "This order is
necessary to protect Michigan's aquatic environment."

Staff from the DNR Wildlife Division and the state Department of
Agriculture provided an update on the agencies' coordinated work to
monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease. The fatal deer and elk illness has
not been found in Michigan to date. Biologists tested more than 3,800
deer and 109 elk harvested during the 2002 hunting season. MDA staff
said they tested 711 privately-owned cervids from facilities statewide.
Staff detailed the state's ongoing monitoring and prevention efforts,
and noted that they are working in partnership with other states and
federal partners.

The next regular NRC meeting is March 6-7 in East Lansing.

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