Asian Carp: Lakes' delegation campaigns
Congressional group fears ravenous fish
By Tom Henry
Published June 1, 2004
Nearly everyone in the Great Lakes region's congressional
delegation has rejuvenated a 2002 effort to ban at least
three of four Asian carp species.
Thirty-two members of Congress from the lakes region recently
sent a joint letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service,
reaffirming their desire to have silver, bighead, and
black carp listed as injurious species. "Preventing
an invasion of Asian carp, a species with a voracious
appetite, is critical to prevent backsliding from the
work put into restoring and protecting the Great Lakes
fisheries," the letter stated. Signers included U.S.
Sens. Mike DeWine (R., Ohio), Carl Levin (D., Mich.),
George Voinovich (R., Ohio), and Debbie Stabenow (D.,
Mich.), plus U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and
John Dingell (D., Dearborn).
Such designations can take months or even years because
of controversy. Some groups claim religious, cultural,
and spiritual beliefs. Others question the notion of civil
liberties being affected, questioning how one designation
could establish a precedent or expand the boundaries of
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is considering a
petition several members of Congress submitted in 2002.
That petition did not mention the fourth type of Asian
carp, the grass carp, perhaps because that fish exists
in 43 states, Ken Burton, U.S. Fish & Wildlife spokesman,
He said the agency has "packages that are in various
stages of winding their way through the process"
for silver, bighead, and black carp. A decision on at
least the silver and bighead carp is expected by the end
Consideration of the grass carp was requested with the
three others in a letter submitted in 2003 by Michael
Donahue of the Ann Arbor-based Great Lakes Commission.
But a species normally isn't considered unless it's formally
named on a petition, Mr. Burton said.
The Lacey Act gives the Fish & Wildlife Service the
power to ban imports of fish or wildlife listed as injurious
species. It also forbids injurious species already in
the United States from being moved from one state to another.
It does not, however, prevent people who previously had
brought them into the country from keeping what they have.
Designating Asian carp as injurious species, therefore,
would allow fish hatchery owners to maintain ownership
of any of those carp they had previously imported to eat