We, the Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group, formally request that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources draw on Minnesota’s legal and political resources, and use its authority as primary manager of Minnesota’s natural resources (including the Mille Lacs fishery,) to respond to the massive gillnetting of Mille Lacs walleyes and pike, the only such spawning-time gill-net fishery in the United States.
‘Business as usual’ is unacceptable.
Examples of compelling reasons and serious concerns:
Major Conservation Issues
• Enormous selective gill-net harvests of male walleyes
• Discriminatory impacts on walleye subgroups that home to the same spawning areas
• Massive by-catch and kill of northern pike by walleye gill-netters
Lack of Transparency
• Minnesota DNR Fisheries managers and Enforcement personnel know little about who’s doing what, where, and when during weeks of intense spring gillnetting around Mille Lacs.
• Mille Lacs-related treaty fisheries co-management by Minnesota DNR, eight tribal DNRs, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) escapes public information and media scrutiny.
• Minnesota DNR leadership’s viewpoints and policy plans regarding tribal-related resource-management issues at Mille Lacs are unknown.
• Big dollar costs to taxpayers for treaty fisheries management (state and tribal agencies) and related costs.
• Dollar costs and public-relations costs to the fishing community because of Mille Lacs’ image as a gill-netted lake, and because “Mille Lacs is always an issue.”
• Public anger and distrust because of unequal harvest rights, and because gill-netting of spawning walleyes confronts the conservation values of most citizens and resource managers.
Disproportionate Allocation of Mille Lacs Fish
• Under treaty fisheries management, the state-tribal allocations of Mille Lacs fish are weighted heavily against the state.
• Present state-tribal 50-50 splits of Mille Lacs pike and perch allocations bring fears about possible future 50-50 walleye allocations and their impacts on anglers and managers.