WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior urging the agency to quicken and strengthen its efforts to prevent Asian carp from wreaking havoc on the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and the jobs and economic footprint Lake Erie has on Northwest Pennsylvania.
Senator Casey’s letter comes after the announcement that Asian carp DNA was recently discovered in samples taken from Lake Erie last year.
“The discovery of Asian carp DNA in Lake Erie is a worrisome development and a strong call for action,” said Senator Casey. “To protect jobs and the economy of Northwest Pennsylvania, the Department of the Interior must step up its efforts to prevent a disastrous infestation of this invasive fish.”
The coastal region of Lake Erie supports $1.2 million Pennsylvania jobs, Senator Casey wrote in his letter to Secretary Ken Salazar, and Pennsylvania’s fishing industry contributes $1.6 billion to the state’s economy annually.
Senator Casey has been a leader in the effort to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Erie, recently pushing for a law to require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries.
Senator Casey has also pushed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to crack down on the smuggling of live Asian carp into Canada from the United States, a practice that could put the ecosystem of Lake Erie and the jobs and economic activity that depend on a healthy lake at risk.