Dec 01

GLC-IFFF Written Comments on Cage Pen Aquaculture

Testimony on Net Pen Aquaculture and Fish Farms
Presented to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
November 30, 2015

We are presenting these comments on behalf of the Great Lakes Council of the
International Federation of Fly Fishers. The Great Lakes Council represents the
interests of fly fishing anglers in Michigan, Indiana and Northwest Ohio. The Board of
Directors of the GLC is unequivocally opposed to the establishment of cage pen fish
farms in the Great Lakes as well the establishment of flow through fish growing
operations like the one proposed for the AuSable River. Simply put, the risks to our cold
water resources are too great to turn our Great Lakes and pristine trout streams into
experimental sites for aquaculture.

The risks have been well articulated in much of the testimony presented at the
November 19, 2015 meeting in Gaylord. These risks include: 1) escapement of farmed
fish and subsequent degradation of wild fish genetics; 2) excessive amounts of fish
waste and accompanying nutrients polluting our Great Lakes and stream habitats; and
3) the risk of disease spreading from farmed fish to wild stocks which has occurred in
other fish farming operations.

Michigan is blessed with the world’s greatest supply of fresh water through our Great
Lakes and is home to some of the world’s iconic trout streams. We cannot comprehend
why our state leaders would experiment with unproven fish farming technologies that
hold the potential to damage these irreplaceable natural resources and place our sport
fishery and tourism industry at risk. While aquaculture may have a future in Michigan it
should pursue that future using proven closed loop recirculating systems that are based
on land.

Invasive species and other environmental threats already challenge our lakes and
streams. We should not allow another threat to our greatest resource. The State of
Michigan needs to take immediate and decisive action to stop the threat of cage pen
Aquaculture in the Great Lakes and fish farms in our rivers.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Schramm

Dave Peterson
Vice President for Conservation

Great Lakes Council
International Federation of Fly Fishers

Click to download PDF