LANSING — According to a report released Tuesday by The Nature Conservancy, Aquatic Invasive Species cost businesses and consumers in the Great Lakes region hundreds of millions of dollars annually in direct and indirect costs related to removal, maintenance and management of those species.
The industries most affected by AIS include sport and commercial fishing, water treatment, power generation and tourism. Together, these industries employ more than 125,000 workers in the Great Lakes region.
The report details the many ways AIS impose economic costs in the Great Lakes region and it puts into context the scale of the impact on several industries directly affected by AIS and how indirect costs are spread across the economy. Primary examples are the cost of government to respond to AIS, and the cost of regulations developed in response to AIS.
“We’ve long known in the conservation community that AIS causes a significant disruption to species in the food chain, but it’s important to be able to quantify that damage beyond environmental impacts into those that affect our economy,” said Rich Bowman, The Nature Conservancy’s director of government relations in Michigan and the Great Lakes. “This is not just an environmental problem, it’s an economic one, too.”
According to the report, the largest industry affected by AIS in the Great Lakes is tourism and recreation, which is responsible for employing more than 90,000 people in the region, generating $30.3 billion annually in revenue. Costs range from monitoring and controlling AIS to lost revenue from beach closings affecting hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.
For the full report visit nature.org/greatlakes.