MUSKEGON—Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland) Monday held an Asian Carp Summit in Muskegon to address issues to contain the invasive species.
Scientists, lawmakers, fisherman, and business owners gathered at the GVSU Annis Water Research Institute to discuss solutions.
Hoekstra said efforts to force the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal closed in Illinois are not realistic. The U.S. Supreme Court last month denied the immediate closure of the locks after a motion by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox.
An Illinois Congressional delegation has opposed the effort, citing commercial implications and, most recently, a danger to homes that would be placed in flood plain due to a shift in water levels.
Hoekstra instead wants to focus federal efforts on a plan to prepare for the invasive carp before they get to the Great Lakes, especially the inland waterways.
Last week he introduced legislation that would appoint one agency in charge of implementing a containment plan if the carp definitively get past the electrical barrier in place in Illinois. Hoekstra agreed when someone in the audience jokingly referred to the person in charge as a "Carp Czar."
A similar carp summit was scheduled today in Washington D.C. attended by Great Lakes governors and members of the Obama administration.
The federal government has pledged another $20 million to help deal with Asian Carp. That's on top of the $17 million already allowed for other Great Lakes issues.
There is a major concern at every level in Michigan for what the carp would do to Michigan's $7 billion sport fishing industry.
The fish can grow to 100 pounds and often jump out of the water and starve out native fish.