February 20, 2018 (Chicago, IL) – Last week, news broke that the bloody red shrimp, an aquatic invasive species, was found in Lake Superior. Alliance for the Great Lakes Vice President for Policy Molly Flanagan issued the following statement:

The discovery of bloody red shrimp – hemimysis anomala – in Lake Superior for the first time last week is yet another warning of the ongoing invasive species threat to the Great Lakes. And, it is a stark reminder of the critical importance of regulating ballast water discharges from ships entering the Great Lakes and from ships that move cargo from port to port within the Great Lakes.

Bloody red shrimp were brought into the Great Lakes via the ballast tanks of ocean-going vessels and first discovered in 2006 in Lakes Michigan and Ontario. More than 180 aquatic invasive species have been found in the Great Lakes. Aquatic invasive species cause more than $200 million in economic damage annually to the region. They degrade habitat, out-compete native species for food and can pose threats to human health.

It is nearly impossible to eliminate an aquatic invasive species once it is established, which is why preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes is so important.

For these reasons, the Alliance for the Great Lakes opposes efforts in Congress to weaken ballast water standards. The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act – S. 168 and H.R. 1154 – would weaken aquatic invasive species protections for the Great Lakes. These bills are being pushed by the shipping industry that is responsible for many aquatic invasive species introductions in the Great Lakes. We applaud Great Lakes Senators who have played a critical role in blocking a vote on this bill.

Our region is united in efforts to fight off threats by the Trump Administration to drastically reduce funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. We must also unite in defending critical protections that keep aquatic invasive species from further damaging the Great Lakes.”
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Media contact: Jennifer Caddick, (312) 445-9760, jcaddick@greatlakes.org

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