For Immediate Release 
February 1, 1999
Contact:  Marc Gaden 
734-662-3209 x. 14

President’s FY 2000 Budget Includes Increased Funding

for Great Lakes Sea Lamprey Control

Additional U.S. funds critical to Great Lakes fishery protection

Ann Arbor, MI—Sea lamprey control on the Great Lakes will receive a much-needed boost thanks to a $1 million increase proposed in President Clinton’s fiscal year 2000 budget, which was released today.  The budget, which proposes a U.S. contribution to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission of $9.353 million, coupled with a proposed increase in funds recommended by a Canadian Parliamentary committee, will allow the commission to meet many of its fishery rehabilitation challenges including sea lamprey control on the St. Marys River and treatment of sea lamprey producing streams in the Great Lakes.

 “The President’s budget is exciting news for the Great Lakes fishery,” said commission Vice-Chair Bernie Hansen.  “If approved by Congress, the additional funds will allow the commission to deliver better sea lamprey control on the Great Lakes and to ensure continued control on the St. Marys River.   Every dollar spent on sea lamprey control generates $17 dollars in economic return, so sea lamprey control makes good economic sense.  Thus, these efforts not only protect the fishery from the destructive sea lamprey, but they also stimulate additional economic activity.”

U.S. Section Chair Dave Dempsey added:  “We applaud the administration for proposing these additional funds, which will be a tremendous benefit to the Great Lakes fishery and to the environment.  The President’s budget will allow us to take significant steps forward with aggressive sea lamprey control, critical fisheries research, habitat protection, and sea lamprey control on the St. Marys River.”

 Last fall, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, after holding field hearings throughout the Great Lakes region, called for its government to commit at least CDN $8 million annually for the commission’s work, a substantial increase from current levels.  The Committee’s recommendation requires Parliament’s approval.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is a binational organization established in 1955 by treaty between the United States and Canada.  The commission’s primary duties are to carry out sea lamprey control and to conduct fisheries research.  The commission also facilitates coordinated fisheries management through the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries.

The commission was formed primarily in response to the sea lamprey invasion of the 1920s and 1930s which nearly destroyed the valuable Great Lakes fishery.  Sea lampreys, left uncontrolled, reduced fish harvest from about 17 million pounds annually to almost nothing.  Many native fish species of the Great Lakes were driven to near extinction, contributing to a fishery severely out of balance.  Sea lamprey control and other programs carried out by the commission have reduced sea lamprey populations by 90% in the Great Lakes, have produced world-class scientific fisheries research, and are key to the success of today’s sport, commercial, and tribal fisheries.

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