For Immediate Release 
February 5, 1999
Contact:  Marc Gaden 
734-662-3209 x. 14

Great Lakes Fishery Commission to Honor

Michigan Boating Industries Association

Award to be presented February 12 during the Detroit Boat Show

Ann Arbor, MI— The Great Lakes Fishery Commission will recognize the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) during the Detroit Boat Show for its efforts to enhance the Great Lakes fishery, to heighten communications about the value of sea lamprey control, and to build partnerships with other boating industry groups in support of natural resource protection.  The award will be presented on February 12, 1999 in Cobo Hall’s Promenade Room at 12:40 p.m.

In 1997, noting the need for adequate sea lamprey control funding, MBIA joined with the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and the National Marine Manufactures Association to support sea lamprey control and to communicate the benefits of a healthy fishery to U.S. legislators.  The award presented will acknowledge this partnership, recognize their interest in protecting the fishery, and honor their efforts to improve communications.

“The commission is very pleased to work with the boating industry in this partnership to protect the Great Lakes resources,” said Commissioner Dave Dempsey, Chair of the U.S. Section. “Thanks to the Michigan Boating Industries Association and its partners, legislators in the United States have a better understanding of the sea lamprey problem and a greater appreciation for the environmental benefits of sea lamprey control.”

Dempsey continued: “With sea lamprey control, the Great Lakes fishery is stronger, the lakes are healthier, and we move closer to restoring the ecosystem that has been so severely altered during this century.  The recognition  that the commission will present on February 12 will honor MBIA’s efforts to protect our natural resources and will thank them for all they have done enhance the Great Lakes fishery for use today and for the future.”

Sea lampreys, which are native to the Atlantic Ocean, invaded the Great Lakes through shipping canals in the 1920s and 1930s.  Sea lampreys are parasitic and are enormously destructive to Great Lakes fish.  After invading the Great Lakes, sea lampreys reduced fish harvest dramatically, drove many Great Lakes fish species to near extinction, and contributed to a fishery severely out of balance.

Fortunately, the commission’s sea lamprey control program, which has been in place since the late 1960s, has reduced lamprey populations by 90%, keeping lamprey abundance to acceptable levels.  The sea lamprey control program allows management agencies to undertake fishery rehabilitation measures and to stock fish.  Sea lamprey control has been a significant factor in the rapid growth of sport fishing in the Great Lakes since the 1960s and supports the valuable commercial fishing industry.  The Great Lakes fishery is worth up to $4 billion annually to the people of the Great Lakes region.  To further emphasize the sea lamprey problem in the Great Lakes, the commission will exhibit live sea lampreys for the duration of the Detroit Boat Show.

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