For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

NMMA PARTNERS WITH MICHIGAN, OHIO BOATING TRADE GROUPS TO FIGHT INVASIVE SPECIES IN THE GREAT LAKES

Trade associations ask Congress for $16.5 million to control the sea lamprey


Chicago, IL

Today, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and two other recreational boating trade associations launched a campaign to control the spread of the sea lamprey in the Great Lakes.

NMMA, Michigan Boating Industries Association and Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, on behalf of the millions of recreational boaters and fishermen across the Great Lakes, sent letters to members of the U.S. House of Representatives to urge their support of a budget level of $16.5 million for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) in the FY2004 appropriations bill before both the House and Senate Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee. 

The money would primarily go toward controlling the sea lamprey, an invasive species that attaches to the fish on the Great Lakes and literally sucks the life from them. The sea lamprey invaded the Great Lakes in the 1940’s and has devastated the Great Lakes fishery over the decades.

“It is imperative that we control the sea lamprey, because if left alone to spread, it would destroy the sportfish population on the Great Lakes,” said Monita W. Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations. “We must do everything we can to limit the reach of the lamprey and to protect our fishery, tourism and quality of life – which includes urging Congress to support the Great Lakes Fishery Commission by providing it with adequate resources to get the job done.”

Through its highly successful sea lamprey control program, the GLFC has reduced sea lamprey populations on the Lakes by about 90 percent today.  However, without adequate funding, states would be unable to stockfish successfully, agencies would be unable to rehabilitate native species, and anglers would have far fewer fish to catch. 

$16.5 million in Fiscal Year ’04 would enable the GLFC to, among other things:

· Continue its highly successful strategy of applying sea lamprey treatments to streams that flow into the Great Lakes;
· Significantly increase the research, development, and implementation of alternative sea lamprey control techniques;
· Work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to design, environmentally assess, and build sea lamprey barriers in the Great Lakes basin; and
· Continue developing and implementing its well-regarded fishery research program for protecting the Great Lakes fishery and its resources.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established in 1955 by the Canadian/U.S. Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. The commission coordinates fisheries research, controls the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies. For more information on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, visit www.glfc.org/.

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry.  NMMA member companies produce over 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.

The world's biggest producer of consumer boat shows and boating industry events, NMMA produces 19 consumer shows throughout North America, as well as the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS) and International Boatbuilders Exhibition and Conference (IBEX). Learn more about NMMA at www.NMMA.org.

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