Great Lakes
Andrew Muir, AP

MI - Michigan, native tribes reach new Great Lakes fishing deal

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Four Native American tribes have agreed with Michigan and federal officials on a revised fishing policy for parts of three of the Great Lakes, officials said Monday.

The tentative deal involves contentious issues for groups wanting shares of a valuable resource as populations of some species — particularly whitefish and salmon — have fallen over the past two decades.

A proposed order submitted to a federal judge would extend for 24 years a system overseeing commercial and sport fishing in areas of lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior covered by an 1836 treaty. Those sections of the lakes are entirely within the U.S. and under Michigan’s jurisdiction.

Under the treaty, the Odawa and Ojibway nations described collectively as Anishinaabek ceded lands that would comprise nearly 40 percent of Michigan’s eventual territory, while retaining hunting and fishing rights.

Rising tensions between tribal commercial operations and sport anglers led to a fishery management pact in 1985, which was updated in 2000. That version was due to expire two years ago but was extended to allow continued negotiations.

“We believe this agreement has clear benefits for all the parties,” said David Caroffino, tribal coordination unit manager for the fisheries division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to the state and federal governments, participants include the Bay Mills Indian Community, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

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