Chatter – Spring Newsletter 2016

Aquaculture Advocates

Dan Vogler, owner Harrietta Hills Trout Farm, operator, Grayling Fish Hatchery.

Regarding his plans for growth in the fish producing industry in Michigan, “And everyone else in the state should hope so as well. The fact of the matter is we import 91% of the seafood we eat in Michigan. We are a state that sits in the middle of 20% of the world’s fresh water supply and we have an opportunity to use that resource in a wise fashion to produce food.”

“We’ve been in the trout business for 17 years. We manage our facilities well. It is not in our interest to be known as the people that destroyed the AuSable River. So we will take care of the river.”

Kent Herrick, board member Mackinac Center for Public Policy (on flow through fish farms in the Great Lakes):

“This is not novel or new. It’s quite well established and studied to death. Bottom line: if you get it right, it works.”

State Sen Darwin Booher,R Evart 

“The US currently imports 90% of the seafood that we consume. Given the interest consumers have in buying locally grown fresh and healthy foods, there is a real opportunity for Michigan to responsibly use its land and water resources to produce more seafood.”

“I visited some of the net-pen operations in Canada. There are a lot of misconceptions and concerns raised about having net pens in the Great Lakes but I quickly realized that many of those concerns are addressed through rigorous regulation.”



Bryan Burroughs Michigan Trout Unlimited Executive Director, (regarding the AuSable River permit):

“Farming trout is not about sustainable development and it won’t help feed the world. You have to feed between 6 and 7 million pounds of food made out of fish products to produce 3 or 4 million pounds of trout. Sustainable aquaculture is possible and doesn’t have to bring risk to existing fisheries.”

“There is a right way, a good way to raise fish and it’s not in an open system where fish and fish disease can escape. It’s by using a closed system that won’t ruin the rest of the fishery. If they really wanted to do this, to bring business to Michigan, they could do it. There is no shortage of inland ponds, pole barns and abandoned buildings fish farmers could use where they could treat the waste properly. It would be a boon to the state and we do not oppose it.”

“Every single environmental organization and every single sporting group we have spoken to is unanimously opposed.”

State Senator Rick Jones, R Grand Ledge sponsor of Senate Bill 5266:

“Concentrated fish poo is not pure Michigan. A typical 200,000 fish operation creates as much waste as a city of 65,000 people, which would make the Great lakes a giant toilet bowl.”

“The waste in a commercial fish farm would stay where Michigan families enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and paddling. Unlike Ocean fish farms where tides flush away the waste, it would stay in the coastal region of the Great Lakes

“Regardless of how many safeguards are put in place, there is always some threat that will be unaccounted for and one mistake here can threaten the entire Great lakes economy. Asian Carp are just one horror story for the Great lakes. They’re a great example of the unintended consequences of aquaculture. These invasive fish were originally brought in to clean aquaculture wastewater ponds.  All it took was one flood and they established themselves as the greatest threat the Great lakes has ever seen.”

Howard Tanner, retired DNR biologist and fishery program director

“A net pen culture would be in the places most favorable to other recreational and leisure time activities. They want deep water close to shore. It doesn’t mix with the sport fishery that is there.”

“Fish farms in the ocean have a flush for their systems, it’s called tide. It flushes their waste products away into salt water. In the Great lakes there is no possible way to treat the waste.”

State Rep Jon Bumstead, R Newaygo

“I am all about jobs and job security but I don’t think it’s worth the risk to the Great Lakes. The cleaner we can keep the lakes the better for everyone.”

Tammy Newcombe senior water policy advisor with the Michigan DNR

“There’s a lot we don’t know about siting these facilities in the Great Lakes. We’ve got to go at this with a very pragmatic and logical approach.”