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Advocacy Alert: Great Lakes Net Pen Fish Farming

It's Time for Your Voice to be Heard

 

We have been communicating with you for the last year about the proposal to allow large-scale commercial fish farming in the Great Lakes. There are now legislative bills introduced for this. Now is the time for you to voice your opinion to your legislators. It's imperative that you do. Below is information on this critical subject to help you accomplish being informed, but the need is simple: we need you to contact legislators to voice your opposition to Great Lakes net pen fish farming. Please take the time during the next couple of days to let your voice be heard on this subject.

 
The rest of this message contains supporting information on focused advocacy needs, current legislation information, background on the subject, and links to useful research on this subject.

PLEASE MAKE THE TIME TO ADVOCATE FOR THE GREAT LAKES AND OUR FISHERIES!

Current Legislation 
  • HB5255, www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(zoyzodgsunxeakuzvezzqexw))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=2016-HB-5255 seeks to prohibit commercial net pen fish farming in the Great Lakes. MITU supports this bill. Its been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, and will receive a hearing on Tuesday February 2, 2016. Sponsored by Representatives Jon Bumstead, Pscholka, McCready, Kivela, Garcia, Pettalia, Cochran, Irwin and Rendon.
  • SB526, www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(zoyzodgsunxeakuzvezzqexw))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=2015-SB-0526, this bill seeks to prohibit Great Lakes fish farming. A S2 substitute for this bill is imminent, and will ensure that other forms of aquaculture must not be allowed to discharge pollutants or create pollution. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, where it has not received a hearing (Senator Joe Hune is the Chair). Sponsored by Senators Rick Jones, Schmidt, Marleau, Beida, Knezek, Warren, Hertel, Hopgood, B. Johnson, and Knollenberg.
  • Senate bills SB681, 682, and 683, (bill search at www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(zoyzodgsunxeakuzvezzqexw))/mileg.aspx?page=Bills) , would allow Great Lakes net pen fish farming, create an "Office of Aquaculture Development" to both promote the industry and oversee its regulation, would remove local units of governments from decisions on where these could be located, and remove many permitting rules and public comment opportunities. Sponsored by Senators Darwin Booher, Tom Casperson, David Robertson, Shirkey. MITU opposes.
  • House bills HB5166, 5167, and 5168, are identical bills to SB681, 682, and 683. Sponsored by Representatives Ed McBroom, Cole, Lauwers, and B. Roberts.   Would allow Great Lakes net pen fish farming, create an "Office of Aquaculture Development" to both promote the industry and oversee its regulation, would remove local units of governments from decisions on where these could be located, and remove many permitting rules and public comment opportunities.
Advocacy Needs
  1. HB5255 will be heard on the House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday February 2, at 9 AM and will be in room 326 at the House Office Building (124 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933). This committee's webpage is www.house.michigan.gov/MHRPublic/CommitteeInfo.aspx?comkey=344.
    1. If your representative is on this committee, email or call them to support HB5255. (Rep's: LaFontaine, Rendon, Forlini, Gioke, Posthomus-Lyons, McBroom, Kivela, Smiley, Plawecki). Links to their contact info are on the committee homepage, and are provided below as well.
    2. If your rep is not on this committee, you can send a simple email to the committee clerk, with your name, and contact information and a statement "I Support HB 5255".
    3. If you are available to attend the committee hearing in person, your inperson presence and testimony card can have great impact on the committee. There is limited time for oral testimony, so you can just fill out a testimony card with "does not wish to speak, supports HB5255".   Help us pack this hearing and send a loud and clear message!
    4. If you attend inperson, you can also attend a press conference afterwards, with Rep. Bumstead and Sen. Jones, sponsors of bills to ban Great Lakes net pen fish farming where they will present the results of statewide polling showing an overwhelming majority of all Michiganders oppose net pens in the Great Lakes (regardless of demographic or political affiliation)! It will be at the Capitol Bldg., Rm 402 at noon.
  2. The House Agriculture committee is likely to hold a hearing on the HB 5166 - 5168 bills next week as well (Feb 3 likley), as its Chair Rep. Lauwers was a sponsor of those bills. As this could happen with short warning, if your representative is on the House Agriculture committee, consider contacting them to voice your opposition to net pen fish farming, and opposition to HB5166 -5168. This committee's homepage is www.house.michigan.gov/MHRPublic/CommitteeInfo.aspx?comkey=305, and includes links to each members contact information. The members are: Lauwers, Cole, Franz, Glardon, J. Johnson, Outman, Rendon, Hughes, B. Roberts, Sheppard, Vaupel, Brunner, Darany, Talabi, Driskell, LaVoy, and Garrett. You can also send an email stating your opposition to HB5166-5168 to the committee clerk.
  3. If HB5255 passes out of committee, there will be need to contact all representatives about this issue to help influence their floor votes.
  4. If your legislator sponsored either HB5255 or SB526, consider contacting them to thank them for their leadership. If your legislator sponsored SB681-683 or HB5166 - 5168, consider communicating your position on this issue to them.

Key Contacts

House Natural Resources
Anthony Forlini R - 517-373-0113 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Andrea LaFontaine R - 517-373-8931 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Ken Goike R - 517-373-0820 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Lisa Posthumus Lyons R - 517-373-0846 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Bruce Rendon R - 517-373-3817 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Ed McBroom R - 517-373-0156 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Julie Plawecki D - 517-373-0849 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Charles Smiley D - 517-373-3906 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
John Kivela D - 517-373-0498 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Joy Brewer, Committee Clerk - 517-373-8474 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

House Leadership
Speaker Pro Tem Tom Leonard R - 517-373-1778 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Speaker Kevin Cotter R - 517-373-1789 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt R - 517-373-0839 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Democratic Leader Tim Greimel D - 517-373-0475 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh D - 517-373-1786 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
 
 
Brief Background on Net Pen Fish Farming Impacts
  • They have no animal waste collection, and therefore introduce large quantities of untreated nutrient waste to the bottom of the Great Lakes: disturbing life on the bottom of the lakes, creating oxygen deficiencies or "dead zones"; contribute to nuisance algal blooms; and can foster harmful algal blooms like the ones that made Toledo drinking water unsafe a year ago.
  • They create ideal environments for aquatic diseases to be introduced, transmitted, and become more virulent and damaging to wild fisheries.
  • Despite best efforts, large numbers of the domestic fish escape each year, going on to interbred with wild fish (like our steelhead populations), where they dilute the ability of wild fisheries to thrive.
  • Supporting background information can be found at:
  • MITU's webpage on this issue, with links pertinent documents, policies or press, michigantu.org/aquaculture

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Michigan TU Youth Trout Camp

The Kalamazoo Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited is hosting the Michigan Youth Trout Camp June 24 - June 28, 2018 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on Higgins Lake, in the heart of Northern Michigan trout country. The four-day Camp is designed to educate our 12-16 year old boys and girls, who will become our next generation of conservation leaders, about the importance of protecting our coldwater resources.

 

For More information visit the Kalamazoo Valley Chapter website @ www.kvctu.org

Michigan TU Fly Fishing School

The Michigan Trout Unlimited Fly Fishing School is indeed one of the country's finest. The school runs from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, June 8, 9 & 10, 2018. Beginners are instructed in the basics of fly casting and fly fishing and are introduced to a wide variety of angling interests. Experienced fly fishers will improve their skills, technique and knowledge of the sport. Even experts are sure to learn something new.

 

For more information visit the Michigan Trout Unlimited Fly Fishing School website @ www.tuffs.org.

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