Four Native American Tribes Agree To Revised Fishing Policy For Great Lakes
Four Native American tribes in Michigan have reached an agreement with state and federal officials on a revised fishing policy for parts of three Great Lakes, according to officials.
The deal concerns the distribution of valuable resources, such as whitefish and salmon, which have seen declining populations in recent years.
The proposal, which has been submitted to a federal judge, would extend the current system overseeing commercial and sport fishing in areas covered by the 1836 treaty for a further 24 years.
The treaty granted the Odawa and Ojibway nations, known as Anishinaabek, hunting and fishing rights in these areas, which are within the U.S. and under Michigan's jurisdiction.
The previous fishery management pact, which was due to expire in 2019, has been extended to allow for further negotiations.
The deal, which is still pending judicial review, would extend for 24 years the system overseeing commercial and sport fishing in areas of Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior covered by the 1836 treaty, in which the tribes ceded lands that make up nearly 40% of Michigan's territory while retaining their hunting and fishing rights.
The Bay Mills Indian Community, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians are also party to the agreement, but the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has not yet signed.
Controversial gill nets, which have been criticized for indiscriminately catching and killing too many fish, will be allowed in more places with restrictions on depth, time of year, and amount deployed.
The agreement has faced opposition from sport fishing groups, who argue it gives too much preference to tribal interests at the expense of sport anglers and tourism-dependent communities.
The agreement includes zones for tribal fishing and areas where commercial fishing is prohibited, catch limits, and gear restrictions for tribal operations.
State biologists claim that the expansion will have minimal impacts on sport fishing and will not harm fish populations.
The deal will extend a system overseeing commercial and sport fishing in areas covered by an 1836 treaty in lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior for 24 years.
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