Experts say the presence of invasive species poses a threat to the ecosystem and overall health of the Great Lakes, upsets the native fishery and habitat, and impacts water quality and those who depend on it.
State Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, has sponsored legislation that would enhance enforcement of invasive species laws.
“I am trying to address these things because we want to pass on our Great Lakes to our kids and grandkids,” he said.
As part of an eight-bill package, Meekhof’s legislation would increase penalties for possession of aquatic invasive species. The penalties include fines, loss of equipment used in the transport of invasive species, and loss of related commercial licenses along with loss of hunting and fishing licenses.
“Penalties and fines increase if you knowingly transport invasive species,” Meekhof said.
The senator noted that he’s also done some work to encourage lawmakers to address the Asian carp threat, such as trying to disconnect Lake Michigan from the Chicago River, where the carp have been spotted.
“My ultimate goal would be to separate the waterways, and that’s the only way (it can be dealt with),” Meekhof said.
State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, said she’s also concerned about the potential carp problem.
“I don’t like to think about the possible implications once they get in (the Great Lakes),” she said, noting that the carp would be detrimental to commercial fisheries and recreational boaters.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.