Canadian budget fully funds the Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Canada, which had been under-funding the agreement for years, is now fully compliant

ANN ARBOR, MI—The Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Fishery Commission today applauded the Canadian government for including full funding to implement the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, a treaty between the two nations. Under the treaty, Canada and the United States agree to fund the Commission consistent with a funding formula. For several years, Canada had been under funding the Commission; such underfunding has undermined Great Lakes science, cross-border cooperation, and control of the invasive, destructive sea lamprey. With today’s Canadian budget, the two nations are now funding the Commission at the agreed-to level with the goal of protecting and improving the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery.

In 1954, Canada and the United States signed the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, a treaty that created the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (www.glfc.org). Both nations agreed to a formula to fund the Commission’s work, which includes supporting science for fishery management decisions; helping the states, the Province of Ontario, and the tribes coordinate their myriad fishery management policies; and carrying out a sea lamprey control program. Sea lampreys invaded the Great Lakes through shipping canals in the early 20th century and wreaked economic and ecological havoc. Each sea lamprey will kill up to 40 pounds of Great Lakes fish. The treaty requires the Commission to carry out a coordinated sea lamprey control program, which it does in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, thanks to the Commission’s programs, sea lamprey populations have been reduced by more than 90%, science underpins decisions, and the management agencies coordinate their actions.

“The treaty’s success has depended on both nations funding the Commission’s work,” said James McKane, the Commission’s vice-chair. “Prior to today’s budget, Canada had been contributing less than was required. The all-party Parliamentary Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Task Force, cochaired by Vance Badawey, MP and Senator Jane Cordy, has made Commission funding a top priority. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission appreciates Mr. Badawey’s and Senator Cordy’s leadership in securing these funds. I am now happy to have the ability to sit with my U.S. counterparts on this important commission as an equal partner. With full funding from Canada now secured, we are eager to ratchet up our work to improve and protect this incredible resource.”

Republished from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission

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