First posted 14.05.2012
As part of the “Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species”, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced May 8th that it “will provide Congress and the public the opportunity to identify a potential permanent Asian carp solution in 2013, much earlier than expected.” Yes: an “opportunity to identify a potentially permanent… solution” & “an assessment of the best options for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, including the preliminary estimated costs and mitigation requirements for each option.”
This statement has to have its place in the ‘best of’ most convoluted hypothetical & uncommitting political non-events PRs… If one can be pleased of the ‘end 2013’ solution estimates (rather than 2015), this announcement still highlights the fact that a practical “solution” (pre-supposing one exists) and its enforcement is still years away.
This is not enough to reassure many concerned anglers, fishers and many others in the business, environment and scientific community who will potentially greatly be impacted by the spread of this invasive fish into the Great Lakes; and from there, further afield into Canada.
As a recent editorial on Cleveland.com rightly pointed out: “So what has the Army Corps been doing for the last three years? A faster timeline is important — if the administration is serious about acting […] Enough flip-flopping.” Another editorialist wrote: “Cajolery by Congress finally has persuaded the sluggish U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the growing threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishery deserves more urgency. But it’s still not enough.”
Bear in mind also that this issue is particularly ‘hot’ in the State of Illinois, ‘home’ of Mr the President, and that 2012 is an election year… Already – since May 8th – a(nother) ‘back door’ to Asian carp’s potential invasion may have been found in Minnesota..