Readers write: fish farms in the Great Lakes; Jerusalem's walls

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 16, 2015 weekly magazine.

Al Goldis/AP/File
The sun sets over the Mackinac Bridge, the dividing line between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, at Michigan's Mackinac Straits, May 31, 2002. If Michigan allows commercial fish farming in the Great Lakes, the industry should begin on a small and experimental scale to enable careful monitoring of the effect on the environment and wild fish populations in waters within Michigan's boundaries, scientists said in a report to state officials.

Keep fish farms out of Great Lakes
I read your Oct. 26 cover story, “The next food revolution,” on fish farming with interest, as aquaculture is a matter of serious debate in Michigan. Companies with fish farms in Lake Huron’s Canadian waters are proposing to expand into Lake Michigan because the Canadian province of Ontario has not issued a new permit in two decades. A new report released by state agencies in Michigan made it clear there is simply too much at risk to put these farms in the Great Lakes. The nutrient pollution from new fish farms will feed toxic algae outbreaks throughout the Great Lakes since, unlike with ocean farms, there aren’t tides to sweep them away. Disease and fish escapes are also major concerns identified in the reports.

The Michigan Environmental Council and allies are working to keep fish farms out of Michigan’s Great Lakes. However, we heartily support on-land, recirculating systems that are separated from public waters. Aquaponic systems, for example, filter water through plants that feed on the nutrients in fish waste, making them ideal for sustainable food production. We think this type of next-generation aquaculture has a bright future in Michigan. Commercial fish farms, however, have no place in the Great Lakes that surround and define our beautiful state.
Sean Hammond
Michigan Environmental Council
Lansing, Mich.

Barriers in Jerusalem
Regarding the Nov. 2 One Week article “Jerusalem is divided city once more”: For 48 years, Palestinian Jerusalemites have found their freedom to travel within the city severely constrained by Israeli security forces.

Can you imagine crossing 35 checkpoints in your city to access family, friends, schools, jobs, health care, banking, groceries, etc? Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem are legal residents of the city but are denied full Israeli citizenship. I do not condone any form of violence. Nonetheless, there is an obvious power imbalance between rock throwing and a US-backed Israeli military.
Susan Stuart
Battle Creek, Mich.

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