Being a fly fisherman and having a variety of other hobbies related to the outdoors has led me to follow closely, the environmental issues that our country faces. One specific issue, is the spread of the invasive species the Asian Carp. The species is well known for its fast reproductive rate, competing with native fish species and basically ruining various fisheries. The biggest threat now is that the Asian Carp are very close to the Great Lakes. Studies have found genetic material from carp in Lake Erie and many of the other Great Lakes tributaries.
Asian Carp leap out of the water in the Illinois River. Photo: Illinois River Biological Station via the Detroit free press
Now if you are not knowledgeable about the Great Lakes fisheries, then let me say, they provide some of the best fishing in the entire world for a variety of species, and also provide unique angling opportunities such as inland pacific salmon and Steelhead. If Asian Carp reach the Great Lakes, the entire fishery could likely be ruined forever.
These guys will be in big trouble if Asian Carp enter the Great Lakes
A little more than a week ago, Keep America Fishing came out with the results of eight questions that the organization asked both Romney and Obama about recreational fishing and the issues that impact it. What astounded me about the answers to the eight questions, was Romney continuously referring to commercial fishing instead of recreational fishing and also, attacking the Obama administration rather than simply answering the questions.
After sharing the article on facebook, not expecting anyone to say anything about it, a friend of mine disagreed with my view which started a chain of argumentative comments that ended up on the topic of Asian Carp and which guy would be better as our president for the future of our nations environment. The argument played out and we both went on with our lives. I commend my friend for the argument because had he not argued, posting such a thing would have probably been worthless. I was glad to see somebody with an actual opinion.
Just two weeks ago, a presidential forum was held as part of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition conference. The forum was set up for the 30+ million Americans to hear their presidential candidates views on Great Lakes Issues. With the opportunity to speak about some very important issues regarding his home state of Michigan, Romney decided not to attend (or even send a representative) to the conference. A few days ago an article written by Jack Darin, the director of the Sierra Club in Illinois, was published online at the Huffington Post. The short article explains the importance of the conference and how Romney decided to "blow it off". The article can be viewed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-darin/romneys-silence-on-great-_b_1897796.html. Do yourself a favor and read it! You can also watch the actual forum on the same page.
Reading about this really gave me a sense of how much Mitt cares about certain environmental issues. He has already stated several times that as president, he would immediately approve of the Keystone Pipeline. He also aims to reverse many of Obama's environmental policies and it also wouldn't surprise me if he OK'ed the controversial Bristol Bay pebble mine, if elected. Make of it what you will, but as a fly fisherman and somebody who cares about the outdoors, conservation, protecting our fisheries, and the future of our environment, I know who I won't be voting for in the upcoming presidential election.