Douglas George, Consul General of Canada in Detroit, (left) and Ohio Governor John Kasich (right) sign the Mutual Aid Agreement for Combating Aquatic Invasive Species on July 9, Governor’s Fish Ohio Day.
On the 35th annual Governor’s Fish Ohio Day, Governor Kasich, with the assistance of Douglas George, Consul General of Canada in Detroit, signed the Mutual Aid Agreement for Combating Aquatic Invasive Species to protect our Great Lake.
The Mutual Aid Agreement for Combating Aquatic Invasive Species:
• Helps prevent the introduction and spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (Asian carp, round goby, zebra mussel, snakehead, etc.)
• Fosters mutual aid
• Establishes protocols and general criteria for states to consider when assessing an event or requesting mutual aid
• All parties agree to share information, research and best available science to address Aquatic Invasive Species issues
• In the occurrence of an event, the requesting party will determine actions and implementation necessary to address the event and communicate needs to other parties
• Other parties will evaluate requested aid and make a determination as to what, if any, assistance can be provided
The agreement is not a strict prescription for everything, a binding agreement or a commitment of resources of any amount.
The Council of Great Lakes Governors Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force will monitor implementations of all measures, provide standardized procedures and protocols, and assist with addressing any required permits or licensing issues for responding parties.
Paul Pacholski, President of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, commented on the agreement saying “I believe you (Governor Kasich) are demonstrating that Lake Erie is truly the gem you said it was.”
Before Governor Kasich spoke, George, Consul General of Canada in Detroit, talked of the importance of Canada and the United States working together, especially in the goal of maintaining the health of the lake.
“It is the responsibility of both nations to take care of our Great Lakes,” said George. “We must work together to take care of this great resource. The United States and Canada have been working together with boundary water issues for over 100 years and I know we can work together to fight against aquatic invasive species.”
Governor Kasich spoke of the importance of the Mutual Aid Agreement and also invited Rick Unger of Chief Charters up to proclaim him Charter Captain of the Year. Kasich said that Unger mirrors the guidelines of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in respecting nature and the environment and setting a great example for all charter captains.
In the governor’s speech, he said that his efforts are not just to protect the lake, but improve the lake. He also commented that it is a remarkable thing to see all levels of government, citizens, wildlife and environmental organizations and both nations working together to accomplish this goal.
Before the signing of the Mutual Aid Agreement, Kasich and other government, local and state officials boarded charter boats and spent the morning fishing in Lake Erie’s abundant waters. Eighteen boats went out for the event and caught nearly 175 walleye. There were 130 participants total boating in the event.
Fish Ohio Day was created to promote Ohio’s world class sport fishing industry. The Ohio fishing industry brings in $800 million a year and supports 639,000 anglers, 7000 jobs and the largest charter boat industry of the Great Lakes.