As I posted earlier, I love me some fried smelt. They are an invasive species, coming into the Great Lakes system via Michigan. where they were stocked to provide forage for stocked salmon in inland lakes.We also have the lovely lamprey eel, which attaches itself to a lake trout & basically sucks the life out of the fish. Here's a picture of the lamprey's mouth.
But there is worse news, compliments of Bu$hCo.
"The federal budget for 2007, released last month, slashed funding for sea lamprey control by a whopping 15% or $2.2 million. This proposal seriously jeopardizes the significant gains in sea lamprey control and comes at a time when sea lamprey abundances are alarmingly high in some areas of the Great Lakes. If allowed to stand, this budget will result in major cuts to sea lamprey control next year, leaving millions more sea lamprey larvae in the system to prey on our valuable fish. Since each sea lamprey destroys up to 40 pounds of Great Lakes fish, the impact of this proposal could be devastating to the $4 billion fishery."Sea lampreys are native to the Atlantic Ocean. They invaded the Great Lakes through federally constructed shipping canals and, by 1940, were found throughout the basin. Sea lampreys prey on fish and their impact on the Great Lakes fishery was severe and devastating. By 1950, commercial catch of top species fell to nearly nothing and local fishing communities faced economic hardship. The problem was so severe that the governments of Canada and the United States signed a treaty—the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries—to address the sea lamprey problem. Under the treaty, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission developed and continues to deliver a sea lamprey control program.
"Call or write your U.S. Congressman and Senators and tell them that the proposed reduction in funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will devastate the $4 billion fishery. Congress should be urged to provide at least $18.9 million for the commission and its sea lamprey control program. If you do not know who your congressman is, visit www.house.gov and enter your zip code at the top of the page (under “find your representative”). You may also call 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office."
We have lots of invasive species here in Lake Superior land - common reed, purple loosestrife, Eurasian ruffe,
just to name a few.
The problem of invasive species is not, of course, limited to up north. Via the kid we have this report from Florida about "wild" pet pythons. It also includes this good information:
"The economic toll from damage by invasive species—and the costs of trying to control them—is enormous: U.S. $137 billion a year, according to a 1999 Cornell University study."