During the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's 1997 Annual Meeting in Ottawa, the U.S. Advisors submitted four resolutions for the commission's consideration:

Resolution #1: Submerged logs

Whereas removal of submerged logs from lake beds can affect fish and wildlife, water quality, and recreational users (fishing and diving); and

Whereas fish and wildlife populations are affected by the removal of coarse woody debris that provide refuge for all life stages of fish from predators and from wave actions, and that provide substrate for fish food organisms; and

Whereas sediment is re-suspended during log removal, harming fish during spawning, eliminating available spawning sites, and smothering fish eggs; and

Whereas submerged logs are found in large quantities in both United States and Canadian waters,

Therefore be it resolved that the Great Lakes Fishery Commission

1) take serious consideration of this pending problem,

2) consider referring this issue to the Habitat Advisory Board for review and scrutiny,

3) work with other parties—which could include Departments of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bad River Tribe of Odanah, the Red Cliff Tribe, the Bureau of Fish Management and Habitat Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers, and sport and commercial fishing groups—to help facilitate sound, scientific discourse on the issue of removal of submerged logs from the Great Lakes,

4) ask management agencies to establish guidelines for the removal of submerged logs.

Be it further resolved that the U.S. Committee of Advisors write a letter to management agencies—which could include Departments of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bad River Tribe of Odanah, the Red Cliff Tribe, the Bureau of Fish Management and Habitat Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers—asking that the issue of the removal of submerged logs be reviewed by management agencies and by the Habitat Advisory Board of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Submitted by Vermont Johnson

Seconded by Mel Both

Passed


Resolution #2: St. Marys River

Whereas sea lampreys, which entered the Great Lakes system via shipping canals, are arguably the most destructive of the over 140 exotic species that have entered the Great Lakes system; and

Whereas lampreys were largely responsible for the collapse of the Great Lakes fisheries, driving lake trout, ciscoes, and whitefish to near extinction; and

Whereas the United States and Canada, operating through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, pursuant to the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, implement a sea lamprey control program that has reduced sea lampreys by 90% in most areas of the Great Lakes; and

Whereas sea lamprey control is the backbone for the achievement of fish community objectives, for stocking programs, for recreational and commercial fishing, for ecological balance, and for fish community restoration and management; and

Whereas sea lamprey control has been largely responsible for natural lake trout reproduction in large areas of Lake Superior to the level where stocking is no longer necessary; and

Whereas more than five million people fish the Great Lakes recreationally, and whereas the Great Lakes fishery provides up to 75,000 jobs and up to $4 billion in economic return the Great Lakes region annually; and

Whereas the St. Marys River is the only major area in the Great Lakes where lampreys are not under control, producing more lampreys than all of the other Great Lakes combined; and

Whereas sea lampreys from the St. Marys River migrate into Lakes Huron and Michigan, causing wounding rates near those experienced before the advent of sea lamprey control; and

Whereas fish community objectives are not being met in Lake Huron and northern lake Michigan because of the St. Marys River sea lamprey problem, and whereas some stocking in those lakes have been put on hold pending St. Marys River sea lamprey control; and

Whereas conventional sea lamprey treatment of the St. Marys River has been impossible because of costs and because of the river’s tremendous size and flow volume; and

Whereas the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has developed a cost-effective mechanism to reduce sea lampreys in the St. Marys River by 85% by applying a combination of trapping, the Sterile-Male-Release technique, and the Granular Bayer lampricide; and

Whereas flat funding for the sea lamprey control program threatens to stall the implementation of the St. Marys River control program and threatens advances made in other areas of the Great Lakes if program dollars are redirected to the St. Marys River;

Resolve: The U.S. Committee of Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Supports the immediate implementation of a St. Marys River control program so that fish community objectives in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan can be achieved;

Commends the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for relying on alternative control techniques to carry out a major portion of the proposed St. Marys River control program;

Calls upon the governments of the United States and Canada to appropriate additional funds necessary so that control in the St. Marys River will not be achieved at the expense of control in other areas of the Great Lakes.

Submitted by Charles Pistis

Seconded by Ed Makauskas

Passed


Resolution #3: Funding for sea lamprey control

Whereas sea lamprey control is the backbone for the achievement of fish community objectives, for stocking programs, for recreational and commercial fishing, for ecological balance, and for fish community restoration and management; and

Whereas the United States and Canada, operating through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, pursuant to the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, implement a sea lamprey control program that has reduced sea lampreys by 90% in most areas of the Great Lakes; and

Whereas more than five million people fish the Great Lakes recreationally, and whereas the Great Lakes fishery provides up to 75,000 jobs and up to $4 billion in economic return the Great Lakes region annually; and

Whereas flat funding for the sea lamprey control program threatens to stall the implementation of the St. Marys River control program and threatens advances made in other areas of the Great Lakes if program dollars are redirected to the St. Marys River; and

Whereas the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries requires the federal governments of the United States and Canada to provide adequate funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to carry out is mandate;

Whereas the U.S. Committee of Advisors recognize that efficiencies in government are necessary and that agencies must do more with fewer dollars;

Resolve: The U.S. Committee of Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Supports the concept of continuous, adequate, dedicated funding for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes by the federal governments of the United States and Canada;

Asks the governments of the United States and Canada, the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York, and the Province of Ontario to appoint individuals to an international steering group, similar to the Sea Lamprey Funding Task Force appointed by Michigan’s Chief of Fisheries, to promote stabilized, adequate funding for sea lamprey control;

Supports the creation of a Great Lakes Fishery Commission Endowment Fund with contributions from both government and private sources if the governments of the United States and Canada pledge to maintain an adequate baseline level of funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; the purpose of this fund being to secure a stable, adequate, and continuous supplement to sea lamprey control funding (provided by the governments of the Untied States and Canada) at minimal additional burden to the federal governments;

Urges an aggressive effort on the parts of advisors, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, fishery resource and conservation organizations, government agencies, the private sector, and all those interested in the perpetuation of the Great Lakes fishery to assist in seeking endowments to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s fund, if the federal governments continue to dedicate adequate funds for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to carry out its duties under the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries.

Submitted by Todd Grischke

Seconded by Dennis Grinold

Passed


RESOLUTION #4: RUFFE

Whereas European ruffe were introduced into the Great Lakes at Duluth Harbor, Lake Superior, through ballast water from the shipping industry in about 1988; and

Whereas a relatively large ruffe population has been established since 1988 in the Duluth area and has spread east along the south shore of Lake Superior to the Ontanagon River; and

Whereas ruffe may be impacting resident fisheries for walleye, perch, northern pike, etc. in the Duluth area; and

Whereas shipping has again apparently spread ruffe to the mouth of the Thunder Bay River on Lake Huron in 1995; and

Whereas recent studies show the ruffe population to be reproducing in the Thunder Bay River and harbor; and

Whereas the spread of ruffe is eminent to other areas of the lower lakes where it could possibly cause impacts to native and naturalized fish stocks in both the Great Lakes and inland waters; and

Where as state agencies have banned the possession of live ruffe, the commercial bait industry is being closely monitored and closed in some areas to prevent the further spread of ruffe; and

Whereas the Nuisance Aquatic Species Task Force and the Ruffe Control Committee have developed and implemented plans to further slow the spread of ruffe; and

Whereas alternate ballast water control technologies are being developed and tested to eliminate nuisance aquatic species from the ballast water systems of existing ships; and

Whereas owners and operators of vessels, in the domestic and international trade on the Great Lakes, recognize their role in assisting in the control of the spread of non-indigenous species;

RESOLVE: The U.S. Committee of Advisors to the Great lakes Fishery Commission urges the GLFC to adopt the following position:

Supports the development of control by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards on the introduction of nuisance aquatic species into the Great Lakes ecosystem via international commerce.

Ask the Lake Carriers Association, Canadian Ship owners Association, Duluth and Thunder Bay Harbor authorities, Shipping Federation of Canada and all other lake carriers to abide by the 1997 and subsequent voluntary ballast water management plans for the control of ruffe in Lake Superior ports;

Strongly urges the Great Lakes Maritime industry to strictly adhere to the voluntary ballast water management plan developed for the control of ruffe in Alpena, Michigan for 1997 and subsequent years with the following considerations:

1. Ballast sea chest suction screens be verified to be in place prior to taking on ballast water in Alpena, Michigan.

2. Prior to ballasting vessels in Alpena, every effort should be made to lighten vessels and much as practical at the dock to have the ballast intake as high in the water as possible. This will result in all water and potential fish to be processed through high-seed pump impellers.

3. Ballast water be pumped in to the tanks in Alpena rather than run in by gravity whenever possible (see #2 above).

4. When ballast water is removed from vessel tanks, it should be pumped out rather than gravity drained as in #2 above.

5. Ballast water taken aboard at Alpena should only be the minimum quantity needed for departure as directed by the vessel Master with full consideration for the safety of the crew and vessel.

6. Ballast water taken aboard at Alpena should be exchanged if the Master determines hull stress and weather conditions permit. Exchange should take place as far from shore as possible and in deep water.

7. Deep water exchange is proffered, but if that is not possible due to vessel routing, safety or weather conditions, a ballast exchange in Thunder Bay, just out side Alpena, is recommended to prevent any fish from being transferred to a new location.

Submitted by Charles Pistis

Seconded by Dick Reuss

Passed