Columbus, OH Ohio Sea Grant, along with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network (GLSGN), has received a $186,000 NOAA grant to determine the economic contributions of the Great Lakes charter boat industry to the region. The study, conducted by the GLSGN in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) asks the captains to provide their opinions on the impact of the potential closure of locks in the Chicago area to their charter fishing businesses.
The USACE is considering a range of options to prevent the cross basin exchange of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basins. One option is the potential closure of a series of locks connecting the Mississippi Basin to the Great Lakes. This possible separation, as well as potential transfer of ANS between the river and the lakes should the locks remain open, could significantly impact the charter industry if ANS disrupt the current sport fish community structure.
“This information on the Great Lakes charter industry will help in evaluating a range of options for the control of aquatic nuisance species, including Asian carps”? says Frank Lichtkoppler, Extension Program Leader and one of the study’s principal investigators. “Preventing the spread of ANS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River is an important goal. Considering economic and ecological concerns should be an important part of the decision making process.”?
Ohio Sea Grant has worked with Ohio charter captains for decades to help them take advantage of economic opportunities while preserving the lake environment for the future. The current survey builds on previous studies conducted by Ohio Sea Grant and the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, while using additional input from economists, nonprofit organizations, and natural resource managers to ensure that the collected information will be of use to a number of different stakeholder groups.
“The last Great Lakes charter captains’ survey of this kind was conducted in 2002, so we expect a lot of new information from the current efforts”? says Lichtkoppler. A final report and a presentation of the results to the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network and other interested parties are expected in December of 2012.
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 32 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.
Frank Lichtkoppler, Extension Program Leader, firstname.lastname@example.org