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USA. NMMA urges Congress to take action against Asian carp threat to the Great Lakes
NMMA news
Published February 6, 2006

The nation’s largest recreational marine trade association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), today pledged to join sportfishing and environmentalist groups in the effort to combat the growing threat that Asian Carp present to the nation’s rivers and lakes.

“The NMMA is proud to join the fight against this menace to our environment and waterways, and we will do so by asking Congress to recognize Asian Carp as an injurious species under the Lacey Act,” said Monita Fontaine, Vice President of NMMA Government Relations. “This action will focus the government efforts squarely on this threat, and will preserve a natural treasure – our Great Lakes.”

The Asian Carp, a moniker used to denote four separate fish including the black carp, bighead carp, silver carp, and the largescale silver carp, have been identified as one of the largest threats to the Great Lakes. The fish are not indigenous to North America, but were brought over from Asia initially for biocontrol of algal blooms in catfish farm holding pens. Asian Carp were accidentally introduced into the Mississippi River during periods of flooding and have become very abundant, harming native fish either by damaging habitats or out-competing native fish for food. While they are not believed to have invaded the Great Lakes yet, they have proliferated widely on the major rivers which feed into the prized water system, and concern grows as Asian Carp are found closer to the river entries into the large water body system.

In conjunction with congressional leaders from the Great Lakes region, environmental groups, and fishing groups such as the American Sportfishing Association, the NMMA will mobilize to urge Congress to pass H.R. 3049, the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, sponsored by Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.), and S. 1402, its companion bill in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio). Both bills enjoy bipartisan support, and would amend the Lacey Act to list Asian Carp as a recognized injurious species, prohibiting their shipment or importation into the U.S.

“Our legislative efforts to declare the Asian Carp an injurious species answer the call for action from meetings with stakeholders and leaders at both our Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show and Toronto International Boat Show earlier this year,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA President. “The recreational marine industry has actively involved itself in issues that affect the environment upon which boating recreation depends, and we will not cease in our efforts to protect the Great Lakes.”

Both H.R. 3049 and S. 1402 have been referred to committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate. The NMMA is asking congressional leaders to take up the matter of passing both bills before the close of the 109th Congress.


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