Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
On February 11, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Upper Midwestern States Manager, Nick Buggia, participated in a panel discussion on Asian carp organized by Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC).
Open to members of Congress and their staff members, the panel took place in the Cannon House Office Building and had more than 40 individuals in attendance. Other panelists included members of MUCC, National Wildlife Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, and a professional angler.
The discussion focused on the history of Asian carp introduction in the U.S., their use in aquaculture for algae and vegetation control, and their ultimate escape and spread to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Now a prolific invasive species, the presentations touched on the threat that Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes ecosystem and its $7 billion-a-year sportfishing industry if they are allowed to enter the watershed’s lakes. Ultimately, the group urged support for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Project.
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is situated on the Illinois River 27 miles southwest of Chicago and serves as a strategic barrier in the spread of invasive species from the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes.
Asian carp, specifically silver carp and bighead carp, pose the greatest threat to the Great Lakes native fish populations. They are prolific spawners, have relatively few predators, and feed on plankton, which forms the base of the food chain for smaller native fish species that are important prey for sport fish. If Asian carp are allowed to become established, they could wreak havoc on the food chain, negatively impacting recreational fisheries, as well as state and local economies in the region.
CSF, in conjunction with the panel and its partners, has been working with Congress to secure funding for this project in the Water Resources Development Act and with states in the Great Lakes Region.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?