The report, “Up to the Gills,” examined Canadian government advisories for eight of the thirteen species of fish found across the Great Lakes. Researchers found that many fish were unfit for human consumption – at least in part – due to mercury, dioxins and pesticides. The chemicals leach into the lakes via power plants, industry and agriculture. Lake trout and large carp in the Toronto area should not be consumed at all, according to the report.
“We need to take immediate action, we need stronger government action,” Environmental Defence Program Manager Mike Layton told Nova Scotia’s The News. The report’s authors recommended reducing pollution, improving sewage systems and updating the Canada-US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
On the US side of things –we can do more by making the improvements called for in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and investing more money and effort in the Great Lakes Legacy Act – both of which reduce pollution and clean up toxic dumps in the lakes. Both the GLRI and the GLLA are presently being considered in Congress. The US House has passed the GLRI fully funded at $475 million and the GLLA at increased funding of $150 million a year. The US Senate has not yet acted but we would urge them to meet the House’s level of funding and ensure the programs are fully appropriated.
Friday fish fry is a ritual that dates back many years in our region and it’s not likely one we want to give up. So, we have to fight for our right to eat our local fish on Fridays or any other day!