Protecting Michigan's Sportfishing Heritage
We partner with citizens, organizations, communities and companies to protect and conserve Michigan's sportfishery and fishing opportunies for future generations.
Michigan Sportfishing Alliance
Facts About Michigan's Recreational Fishery
According to an economic study commissioned by Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the sportfishing industry produces an economic output of more than $2.3 billion. The economic output of commercial fishers pales in comparison at $5.4 million, according to 2015 data from the MDNR
Since the 1960s, our Great Lakes fisheries have been managed with recreational anglers’ and hunters’ monies with virtually no investment in conservation, rehabilitation and management by the commercial industry
There are over 570 charter businesses in Michigan that own and operate more than 650 boats on the Great Lakes. In 2019 alone, these businesses took more than 77,000 people fishing on almost 20,000 trips
Learn more about House Bill 5108 on Duran Martinez's Wild Michigan Podcast. This exclusive interview with Mark Sak dives deeply into the details of this legislation that will adversely affect Saginaw Bay and Great Lakes Fisheries. Click here!
Take Action to Protect Sportfishing
Michigan is facing an unprecedented challenge that threatens the very existence of our sportfishing heritage. After decades of working to promote conservation, funding fisheries restoration projects, and supporting fish planting efforts across the state, Michigan's fishing public is now facing the assault of a commercial industry that wants to expand netting operations to include important gamefish species such as walleye, trout, perch, smallmouth bass and more.
In October 2023, Representative Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor) introduced House Bill 5108 which he has called the "Protect Michigan Fishing Act". Don't be fooled by the title. This bill does nothing to protect Michigan's fishing heritage. In fact, this bill will not only expand commercial netting to new species such as walleye, but will also allow new netting tactics such a gill netting, which is not allowed under current regulation.
The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of representatives that are anti-sportsperson. This list includes: Gregory Alexander, David Martin, Jason Hoskins, Reggie Miller, Jasper Martus, Cam Cavitt, Gregory Markkanen, Dylan Wegela, Matthew Bierlein, Gina Johnsen, John Roth, Ken Borton, Tom Kunse, Felicia Brabec, Betsy Coffia, Carrie Rheingans, Jerry Neyer, Erin Byrnes, Will Snyder, Dave Prestin, Ranjeev Puri, Mike Hoadley, Jaime Greene, Donni Steele, Kathy Schmaltz, Alicia St. Germaine, Rachel Hood, Julie Brixie, Abraham Aiyash, Karen Whitsett
Michigan’s commercial fishing regulations have not been updated since the 1960s, and most of the state statute language dates to 1929. Commercial license fees have not been modified since 1968 and are inadequate to fund the program’s administration and enforcement. Today, recreational anglers bear the burden of subsidizing the commercial industry… funds that could otherwise be used for habitat improvement, fish stocking, fisheries education programs, and more.
What can you do? Contact your represntative now, and tell them that you support Michigan's sportfishing heritage and they should not support House Bill 5108.