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Fish farming in Great Lakes subject of hearings in Lansing this week

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Hearings are underway in the State House this week on two opposing bills about fish farming in the Great Lakes.

One bill, sponsored by Michigan Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, seeks a total ban on commercial net pen aquaculture in Michigan Great Lakes waters and connecting rivers.

"I don't know how you can regulate 200 tons of fish just dumping manure in the Great Lakes," said Bumstead.

Bumstead said waste from fish farms threatens Michigan's multi-billion dollar fishing, recreation and tourism industries.

"It's not worth the risk for a few jobs," Bumstead said. "I don't think we need to be a dumping ground for aquaculture." 

A competing bill package, sponsored by Reps. Ed McBroom, R-Escanaba, and Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, would permit aquaculture pens and streamline permitting for them. Neither representative was available for comment.