State Lawmakers Consider Great Lakes Fish Farms
The Michigan House of Representatives is reviewing competing legislation regarding proposals to either allow or ban massive commercial net pen aquaculture facilities in the Great Lakes. Net pens are cages that house farmed fish in open water and contribute to multiple environmental problems when positioned in natural water bodies.
Of particular concern, fish waste and other byproducts can contribute high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen to the surrounding aquatic environment. Fish waste accumulates on the lake bottom and will not disperse. Aquaculture facilities have also experienced fish escapes, which can adversely affect wild fish populations, and no mechanism exists to prevent this. Lastly, there is a threat that net pen facilities in the Great Lakes could introduce new diseases or mutations, or amplify diseases that are already prevalent.
Sierra Club believes that aquaculture should not be allowed in the Great Lakes or other sensitive aquatic ecosystems. The two competing proposals are House Bill 5255, which would ban net pensin the Great Lakes, and House Bills 5166, 5167 and 5168 whichwould allow the permitting of these facilities with little oversight from state agencies. Please consider contacting the members of the House Natural Resources Committee and Agriculture Committee, which are reviewing these proposals, to tell them to oppose fish farming in the Great Lakes.