December 3, 2015

CSF Hosts Great Lakes Fisheries Policy Forum at Cabela’s in Dundee, Michigan

On November 20, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), working in conjunction with the Michigan and Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses, hosted an informative policy forum focused on the fisheries management challenges and successes in the Lake Huron-to-Lake Erie Corridor (HEC) region of the Great Lakes. Over 50 attendees filled the conference room at the Cabela’s store in Dundee, Michigan, representing state and federal natural resource management agencies, congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative offices, academic institutions, recreational angling organizations, and citizen’s fisheries advisory boards.

The purpose of the forum was to educate state legislators from Michigan and Ohio, as well as members of the recreational angling community, on issues concerning sportfishing in the HEC, in addition to providing a venue for scientists and natural resource managers from various state and federal agencies to share their work with one another. The HEC boasts more recreational anglers than anywhere else in the Great Lakes Basin and generates a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar sportfishing industry in the Great Lakes. The sharing of ideas, findings and experiences are critical to the proper management of the region’s fisheries and have serious economic impacts.

Experts from the region presented on a range of topics, including: cutting edge acoustic telemetry technology and what it is showing us about the travel patterns and behavior of key sport fish in the region, such as walleye; Lake Huron lake trout resurgence and population dynamics; Detroit and St. Clair River artificial reef construction; the relationship between exotic, invasive dreissenidae mussels and native smallmouth bass in the HEC; sea lamprey control and new management strategies; opportunities to keep exotic invasive carp out of the Great Lakes; the challenges of managing the international Great Lakes fishery in a complex jurisdictional environment; and the history and plan for managing harmful algae blooms.

“It was great coming together with legislators from a neighboring state and realizing there are no borders to our mutual love for the Great Lakes,” said Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Andrea LaFontaine after the event. “The topics explored today made it clear that continued funding for research is critical to ensuring we have the capacity to make appropriate fisheries management decisions. Funding streams are often times fragile and so it is important for people to understand that investments in our natural resources are crucial.”

“Michigan’s Great Lakes fisheries are a wonderful natural resource that attracts the world’s most-experienced anglers as well as families who wish to open their children’s eyes to the great outdoors,” said Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus member Senator Dale W. Zorn. “The Great Lakes support a $7 billion sport fishing industry and are vital to our way of life. It is the responsibility of all of us to protect our Great Lakes fisheries and pass on their beauty and enjoyment to future generations.”

The Great Lakes Fisheries Policy Forum’s Title Sponsor was the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The Forum’s Host Sponsors included Plano Synergy and Rapala.

Below are downloadable presentations from the Great Lakes Fisheries Policy Forum:

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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