Pressure on fisheries raising tension; KBNRD focus on stocking, assessment and education; Agencies coordinating to manage Superior fishery

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LAMPREY ASSESSMENT–KBNRD uses nets across key rivers to catch and assess numbers of adult lamprey heading upriver to spawn. Lamprey control efforts, largely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have brought lamprey numbers down to near-goal populations. Lamprey still have a large impact on the Lake Superior fishery, causing unknown numbers of fish kills.

by Barry Drue
Keweenaw Bay Natural Resources Department (KBNRD) wants people to know more about its management and support of Lake Superior and inland water fisheries. KBIC licenses between 15 and 20 commercial fishers, mostly using small boats and hand-pulling nets. The tribal Natural Resources Department’s stocking program and hatchery at First Sand Beach provides far more fish to inland and Lake Superior waters than taken by its commercial fishers. But the increased presence of large gill net tugs from other reservations has elevated concerns across the Keweenaw region for the fishery, particularly whitefish and lake trout in Lake Superior. Tension and much misinformation is circulating and will likely increase as the summer fishing season gets underway…….

Dave Caroffino works in the Michigan DNR Fisheries’ Tribal Coordination Unit, based in Charlevoix. He attended a public meeting on April 6, 2016, in Marquette and heard multiple concerns from sport anglers about increased tribal netting in Western Lake Superior. “There certainly was concern among anglers,” Caroffino said. “Two GLIFWC (Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission) officers attended and they provided valuable information about their oversight of Native American netting operations. GLIFWC can enforce tribal regulations in off-reservation waters.” Concerns over increased netting in the last couple of years have mounted. Gill net tugs from the Bad River and Red Cliff reservations near the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin are fishing off the Keweenaw and around the Keweenaw Peninsula. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community fisherman typically use small boats closer to the reservation and hand-pull their nets……. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.