By JOSHUA BENDER
Capital News Service
LANSING — A proposal to farm fish in Michigan’s Great Lakes may violate the rights of some Native American tribes in the state, according to representatives from several of Michigan’s five Native American tribes. This new method, called net pen aquaculture, raises fish in enclosed areas within the Great Lakes. Separate bills promoting and banning commercial net pen aquaculture were recently debated in the House committees on natural resources and agriculture,
Opponents of commercial net pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes say the method threatens the lakes’ water quality and fish by creating new opportunities for the spread of disease and invasive species. “There is no question that net pen aquaculture will cause water quality degradation that could result in an adverse impact on the citizens relying on the fish that live in the water for jobs and food,” said Kathryn Tierney, tribal attorney for the Bay Mills Indian Community. Proponents say they believe the fish farming method will create jobs while posing minimal threat to the lakes’ water quality and fish.