Quigley Reintroduces Bipartisan "Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act"
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), joined Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06) in reintroducing the bipartisan Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act (GLFRA). The bill provides the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Great Lakes Science Center with funding to conduct critical monitoring, scientific assessments, and research in support of fisheries between the United States and Canada that lie within the Great Lakes Basin.
“It is no surprise that the Great Lakes fishery industry, which generates $7 billion in economic activity and supports 1.5 million jobs, requires cutting-edge research and adequate funding for proper maintenance and preservation,” said Rep. Quigley. “By reintroducing the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act, we are working to protect the waterways that play an invaluable role in our economies, our ecosystems, and our communities—whether it be providing clean drinking water or recreational activities. We must ensure that the USGS Great Lakes Science Center has the tools, resources, and authority it needs to fulfill its vital work.”
“The Great Lakes provide incredible environmental and economic benefits to Michigan, our region, and the nation,” said Rep. Upton. “Commercial and recreational fisheries are a central part of that. The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act will help protect and maximize these benefits by ensuring the USGS Great Lakes Science Center has the resources and cutting edge technology needed for the healthy management of the Great Lakes ecosystem and to ensure our fisheries remain a strong economic driver for generations to come.”
The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization (GLFRA) Act authorizes the US Geological Survey (USGS) Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) to ensure critical scientific support for the commercial Great Lakes fishery industry. The GLFRA Act will replace the current authorization, widely viewed as vague and confusing, and piecemeal funding of the USGS-GLSC, with a dedicated funding stream and a clear authorization to allow the Science Center to more effectively contribute to Great Lake research efforts.
The GLFRA Act allows the USGS-GLSC to:
- Meet the needs of fisheries managers to monitor and assess the health of the Great Lakes Fishery
- Conduct science and research including fish habitat investigations
- Handle invasive species response
- Study deepwater ecosystem and biological and food web components vital to maintaining the productivity of the Great Lakes
- Use existing, new, and experimental biological assessment tools, equipment, vessels, and other scientific instrumentation and laboratory capabilities to support fishery management decision
“Science sustains the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishery,” said Robert Lambe, executive secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the bi-national treaty organization responsible for fish stocks of common concern with Canada. “The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act will bring Great Lakes science and technology into the 21st century and will generate the information state and tribal managers need to improve the valuable fishery. I commend Representatives Mike Quigley and Fred Upton for introducing this important legislation, which enjoys broad support throughout the Great Lakes basin and beyond.”
The Great Lakes hold 18% of the world’s fresh water supply and cover over 9,000 miles of shoreline. Over 40 million people depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, recreation, fish and wildlife related activities, industrial water supply and commercial navigation. Within the region, the Great Lakes support well over a million jobs and generate tens of billions of dollars in wages.
Additional bipartisan co-sponsors of the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization (GLFRA) Act include Reps. Dingell (MI-12), Schakowsky (IL-09), Higgins (NY-26), Kildee (MI-05), Slotkin (MI-08), Huizenga (MI-02), Joyce (OH-14), Mitchell (MI-10), Collins (NY-27), Bergman (MI-01), Stauber (MN-08), Gonzalez (OH-16), and Kelly (PA-16).
As a member of the House Great Lakes Task Force, Vice Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Rep. Quigley has been an unwavering advocate for the Great Lakes and environmental protection broadly. Last year, he urged the Committee on Natural Resources to hold a briefing on GLFRA following his introduction of the bill in the 115th Congress. In 2016, Rep. Quigley visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Research Vessel Sturgeon at Navy Pier for a discussion on the value of the Great Lakes fishery, the changing ecology of the Great Lakes, the threat of invasive, non-native species to the Great Lakes’ ecosystem, the inter-jurisdictional management structure, and the role of the USGS.