Law Enforcement Committee Annual Meeting
The Law Enforcement Committee holds its own Annual Meeting in the fall – getting lost yet? Kevin Ramsey (Law Enforcement Specialist) invited me to attend this meeting. He also asked that I prepare a brief presentation to serve as an introduction and explanation of my research interests. I approached the development of this presentation in a thoughtful way because I was initially concerned about how the Law Enforcement Committee members would perceive me. To them, I am an outsider. I do not have the same educational background, training, and real-life experiences as these committee members. I was worried that the committee members would be distrustful of me as a researcher and, thus, fail to fully include me in their discussions.
I was anxious to introduce myself. However, I was surprised to find out that the committee members were interested in my research interests and were curious about how I planned to interact with them during the next year. I answered a few basic questions and the meeting continued normally. I talked more with the Law Enforcement Committee members later that evening at our reception.
The Law Enforcement Committee’s Annual Meeting was exciting. I heard a series of presentations detailing illegal fishing activities and explaining how these activities were monitored and eventually controlled. From what I gathered, major enforcement issues in the Great Lakes Basin currently involve the transportation and introduction of aquatic invasive species. Aquatic invasive species or AIS are species that are not native to the aquatic environment, and whose introduction either causes or is likely to cause detrimental effects on the economy, environment, and human health. Common AIS in the Great Lakes Basin include Asian carp, sea lamprey, zebra mussels, and Eurasian Watermilfoil. The Law Enforcement Committee is particularly concerned about AIS coming into the Great Lakes via baitfish collection, sales, and dumping.
I left the Law Enforcement Committee’s Annual Meeting feeling encouraged and motivated to continue working with them in the future.
LESSON #7: Representation from and collaboration among all sectors – federal, state, provincial, tribal, etc. – is essential for effective information-sharing and the development of new and improved management tools and strategies.
View Molly’s presentation to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Law Enforcement Committee here.