LANSING—State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, responded on Wednesday to Tuesday’s announcement by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that Asian carp eDNA has been discovered in the Kalamazoo River.
“The discovery of Asian carp eDNA in the Kalamazoo River highlights the urgency of the need to protect our waterways,” said Pavlov, author of Senate Bill 797, part of an eight-bill package that addresses continued threats posed by the illegal introduction, possession, use, transfer or sale of prohibited aquatic invasive species. “In Michigan we have been stressing how critical this situation is. Now it is up to President Obama and the federal authorities to do their part.”
Earlier this year, Pavlov and other lawmakers introduced SBs 795 – 802 to increase the fines for the illegal possession of aquatic invasive species; allow for the seizure of all equipment used in the introduction, possession and sale of these species; allow for the suspension of related commercial licenses; and suspend the responsible party’s right to fish and hunt in Michigan.
The DNR has reported that the invasive species bighead and silver carp are spreading to lakes, rivers and streams in the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes region. They are not yet established here but are well-suited to the climate of the region.
“Aquatic invasive species pose a devastating threat to the health of our Great Lakes,” Pavlov said. “This in turn could seriously affect the economy of the region and the lives of millions of Michiganders and others. We must take steps to prevent this from happening.”
Michigan law currently bans the possession of a select list of aquatic invasive species and expressly prohibits the possession, sale, transport or transfer of those prohibited species. However, there recently has been an increase in the trafficking of these species.
Pavlov’s bill and most of the others in the package have been sent to the Michigan House, where they await action in the House Committee on Natural Resources.