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The Negotiations of a new Great Lakes Fishing Federal Consent Decree are still ongoing after 2.5 years of talks
The 2020 Consent Decree governing 1836 Treaty and state recreational and commrecial fishing in the northern Great Lakes of Michigan was again extended last November until June 30, 2022. The parties have switched recently during April from Zoom virtual meetings to several day in-person sessions. Progress has been very slow, but it is hoped that meeting in person will be more productive. With both the commercial whitefish fishery and the recreational salmon fishery at record low levels there are many challenges facing the parties.
Since 1985, a large portion of Michigan’s Great Lakes fishery has been shared under an agreement between five of Michigan’s sovereign tribes and the State. This agreement was entered by the federal court in a “consent decree” that applied to what is known as the 1836 Treaty Waters. The treaty waters extend from the mouth of the Grand River in Lake Michigan to Alpena in Lake Huron and from Sault Ste. Marie to almost Marquette on Lake Superior.
The Hammond Bay Area Anglers Association is a core member of Coalition to Protect Michigan’s Resources, which is represented by Steve Schultz and Chris Patterson. Mr. Schultz has been involved with the treaty negotiations since the original 1985 Consent Decree. Both are attorneys at Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC. Frank Krist representing the Hammond Bay Area Anglers Association has attended several Federal Status Hearings and is present during the negotiating sessions.
The current Consent Decree that is due to expire at the end of June, identifies the rules and areas where tribal commercial fishers, tribal subsistence fishers and state recreational sport fishers may fish. Certain areas of the Great Lakes are mostly reserved for sportfishing, while others are shared or reserved mostly for commercial fishing by the tribes. Yet, as mentioned above, after more than 2.5 years of negotiations the discussions are still ongoing.
For additional information about the Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources and the negotiations use this link, https://protectmiresources.com/