DNR ANNOUNCES LAKE SUPERIOR FISHING CHANGES|
LANSING--Michigan Department of Natural Resources
officials today announced emergency changes affecting
recreational lake trout anglers in Lake Superior.
The 2000 Consent Decree regarding Native American
fishing was designed, in part, to create and maintain a
natural population of lake trout in the southern Great
Lakes. Lake Superior has a viable lake trout population,
which the provisions of the Consent Decree work to protect.
The Consent Decree parties and contributing Amici, which
included state and federal agencies, tribal, commercial and
sport fishing interests, agreed to allow tribal and state
biologists monitoring the Great Lakes to set harvest quotas
that protect lake trout populations and ensure a sustainable
fishery for the future.
According to state and tribal catch records, the 2001
Total Allowable Catch (TAC), established to protect stocks
in management unit 6 (MI-6) of Lake Superior, was exceeded
by the state recreational fishery. This management area
includes the portion of Lake Superior near AuSable Point in
Alger County to near Laughing Fish Point in Alger County.
Main ports of access to this management unit include Au
Train and Munising.
To prevent the overharvest from recurring and to meet
this year's TAC in MI-6, recreational fishing regulations
for lake trout in MI-6 have been changed. Beginning June 12,
2002, the following regulations apply:
* The daily possession limit shall be three (3) lake trout.
* The minimum size limit shall be 10 inches and the maximum
size limit shall be 25 inches, except that one fish in the
daily possession limit may be 34 inches or greater in
length. Fish that are greater than 25 inches and less than
34 inches may not be retained.
* The season shall be open year around.
Models predict that by establishing a 25-inch maximum
size limit (except that one fish in the bag limit of three
may be 34 inches or greater), the total recreational fishing
harvest will not exceed the TAC set for MI-6 for 2002.
"As we work with this system for ensuring strong lake
trout populations, emergency orders like this one could
become common in the future," said DNR Fisheries Chief
Kelley Smith. "We met recently with affected parties in
Munising, and those anglers helped us craft this order. This
partnership will help guarantee continued fishing
opportunities for Lake Superior's prized lake trout."
Season and bag limits will remain unchanged. This
order remains effective through December 31, 2002. After
that, the provisions contained in the 2002 Michigan Fishing
Guide shall apply.