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January 8, 2010

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. applauds legal action to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes
Ontario supports Michigan's bid to prevent spread of invading species into Lake Michigan

In the early 1990's, the invasive bighead and silver carp, known collectively as Asian carp, began advancing northward up the Mississippi River after having escaped aquaculture ponds in the southern United States. They have since migrated into the Illinois and Missouri rivers, outcompeting native fish along the way. An electric barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) is one of the last barricades preventing the further invasion of these aggressive fish into Lake Michigan. Should they make it to the lake, the carp will have pathways to the remaining Great Lakes, where they will most certainly have a catastrophic impact. This threat has prompted governments on both sides of the border to take legal action to close all gaps.

The State of Michigan has appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to force the closure of those Chicago locks and waterways that could allow invading species to enter Lake Michigan, along with a number of additional measures. Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and New York have filed documents to back Michigan's move. The Province of Ontario has filed a legal brief with SCOTUS in support of the preliminary injunction to close the locks in the CSSC, a move the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) strongly endorses.

"We cannot underestimate the devastation that the invasion of Asian carp will have on our fisheries," said Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife. "Recreational fishing in Ontario is enjoyed by over 1.7 million anglers, who spend more than $2.5 billion annually. The commercial fishery of the Great Lakes is valued at $200 million. All of that hangs in the balance if Asian carp make it to Lake Michigan."

In early December, a crew from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the MNR assisted in an intense international effort to prevent the carp from gaining access to Lake Michigan while the electric barrier was shut down for maintenance. The O.F.A.H., through the O.F.A.H./MNR Invading Species Awareness Program, was the only nongovernmental organization to participate on the Canadian team.

"History has repeatedly demonstrated that once invading species are established, they are virtually impossible to eradicate, so we should be pursuing every possible avenue now to keep these and future threats out of our Great Lakes," added Quinney.

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, charitable, fish and wildlife conservation organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.


Don't believe gun-registry hype
Lorne Gunter, National Post

If you hand out enough parking tickets, occasionally you're going to nab the odd car thief in the process. But it would be wrongheaded to imagine you could make a dent in the total number of auto thefts by increasing your enforcement of parking bylaws.

Yet, this is about what Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair would have us believe about gun registration.

Since the summer, as part of "Project Safe City," Toronto police have been rousting firearms owners who have failed to renew their gun licenses. The other day while performing a search on one such owner's home, officers stumbled across an impressive cache of weapons. Instead of the 25 registered firearms they expected, they found 58 firearms and 6,000 rounds of ammunition: one machine gun, one submachine gun, 17 handguns, 35 rifles and four shotguns.

That sounds like an impressive haul -- and it is -- but its discovery is... [ Full Article ]