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Kildee proposes ban on certain fish farming, farmer feels "bullied"

Feb 9, 2017

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is proposing a ban on certain types of fish farming in the Great Lakes region.  

In Fenton today, Kildee said federal laws are needed to replace a patchwork of state laws in the region that are insufficient to regulate the aquaculture industry.    

“These fish farms create all sorts of pollution…and increase the likelihood of significant impact on habitat,” says Kildee.  

Here are Kildee’s two bills:

  • The Ban Aquaculture in the Great Lakes Act, which would ban aquaculture facilities in the Great Lakes, ending the current patchwork of state laws that attempt to regulate such commercial fishing.
  • The Preserving Fishing on Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which would ban aquaculture facilities on Wild and Scenic Rivers and its tributaries, such as the Au Sable River, unless such facilities are shown not to discharge pollutants into the river.

In his remarks, Kildee singles out one business near Grayling, which recently won a court fight to expand.    

Dan Vogler is co-owner of Harrietta Hills Trout Farm. He accuses sport fishing and conservation groups of acting like “school yard bullies” in trying to shut down his business.

“I mean how often does a federal legislator craft legislation to specifically put one small family farm business out of business,” Vogler says.

Kildee denies his legislation is only intended to stifle Vogler’s trout farm.

Kildee’s bills have the support of the the Anglers of the Au Sable, Michigan Trout Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Salmon and Steelhead Association and For the Love of Water (FLOW).   

“It is vital that fish farms be operated in a way that protects the cleanliness of our rivers and lakes, which are in a delicate balance easily tipped by addition of wastes from aquaculture done improperly,” says Tom Baird, president of the Anglers of the Au Sable.  

The Anglers of the Au Sable are among the groups that that actively fought Harrietta Hills Trout Farm attempts to expand its operations. 

Vogler warns Kildee’s bills may hurt other aquaculture businesses in the Great Lakes region.