Within the Great Lakes, the industries that depend on their ecosystem is almost as varied as the organisms. And like predators competing for the same food, their interests aren’t always in sync.
This became apparent in the wake of Monday’s refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately close the Chicago Locks. The closure was requested by the state of Michigan to prevent Asian carp from moving from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan. It was supported by Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio as well as various environmental groups.
The decision was hailed by the barge and tug industry. In the Cleveland Plain Dealer, American Waterway Operators spokeswoman Lynn Muench says she hopes Monday’s ruling ends all legal action and leads the different interest groups to work more closely to stop the invasive fish.
The same morning had harbor and marina operators bemoaning the legal setback. In the Green Bay Post-Gazette, marina owner Tom Kleiman worried about the effect of the fish on his business.
“That’s my livelihood,” said Kleiman, owner of Accurate Marine, pointing to the nearby boat landing where many of his customers begin and end their hunt for the lake’s fish. “I’m very concerned, as most of my customers are.”
The Green Bay article also quotes commercial fishermen in support of closing the locks. They fear the rapatious fish could eliminate other native species of fish in the lakes.
“They don’t know what’s going to happen,” charter fisherman Keith “Tiger” Ihlenfeldt said. “Maybe everything can adapt. If not, it’s going to ruin everything. The hotels, restaurants. People aren’t going to come here.”
Along with the shipping industry, those opposed to closing the locks include the federal government, the state of Illinois and Chicago’s Sewer Authority.
Michigan still has pending before the Supreme Court a separate request to reopen cases dating to the 1920s about water flows involving the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.