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

A New Opportunity to Protect

Michigan's Sportfish

 

Without new legislation to update and promote conservation and restoration of Michigan's sportfish, our fishing heritage is threatened.

Michigan Sportfishing Alliance

The biggest challenge to Michigan's sportfishing heritage

 

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. This legislation is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, local, state and national conservation organizations, and communities around the state.

The proposed legislation uses a common sense and scientific approach to managing our fisheries resources.

 

  • Creates a list of all species available for commercial harvest, in turn protecting game species

  • Requires commercial netters to check their nets regularly and regulates the allowable gear in relation to the time of year and location of net.

  • Requires commercial netters to publicly disclose GPS coordinates of nets

  • Establishes penalties for the taking, possessing or selling of specific species. Game fish unlawfully taken will incur a higher fine

  • Creates penalties for a person intentionally obstructing the legal taking of fish

  • Updates the commercial netting fee structure so that the commercial industry moves toward paying its own costs for management and administration

  • Allows the DNR to better enforce and promulgate laws related to commercial netting -  currently that authority resides with the legislature

  • Requires the DNR to conduct a bycatch study at least once every three years in at least three active commercial fisheries and use the results of those studies to adjust harvest, allowable gear, and other license conditions.

  • This bill package would also align with three 2000 Consent Decree goals related to lake trout (the No. 1 sportfish being caught as bycatch by Michigan commercial fishers), which include restoring self-sustaining, wild populations, and providing a sport fishery for Michigan anglers and tribal parties.