DNR using non-disclosure agreement to thwart growing opposition in fish negotiations

On Monday, a conservation coalition fighting to protect recreational fishing in Michigan’s Great Lakes filed a rebuttal to state and tribal filings in federal court (click to read).

The Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources (CPMR) filed to intervene in the ongoing Consent Decree negotiations between five sovereign Native American Tribes, the State of Michigan and the federal government on July 13. Read that filing by clicking here.

The parties filed their responses to the intervention request in late July. The State of Michigan filing opposing granting intervenor status can be viewed by clicking here. Two of the five tribes, in conjunction with the feds, submitted a three-party filing (view it by clicking here).The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians filed their own responses opposing intervention of CPMR.

CPMR comprises a board of directors whose members include Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), the Michigan Charter Boat Association, Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, and Hammond Bay Area Anglers Association. It includes numerous other supporting groups throughout the state.

The state’s opposition notes the non-disclosure agreement that disallows it from indulging details of the negotiations.

However, instead of recognizing CPMR as partners in these negotiations, it digs in and claims “the proposed Intervenors’ assertions are meant to obscure the real impetus for the motion” and that “proposed intervenors have offered no proof otherwise” in regards to its “dereliction of duty.”

“This is simply not true and meant to plant a false flag,” said CPMR President Tony Radenjovich. “The non-disclosure agreement is a shield to protect the parties, not a sword to thwart the opposition.”

“The impetus for our motion is clear: The State of Michigan has abandoned its duty to protect our member’s interest in sport fishing, motor boating and recreating,” he continued. “More problematic is the abandonment of sound biological principles that govern our Great Lakes fisheries in the treaty waters.”

The 1985 and 2000 decrees govern fishing regulations in certain waters of lakes Michigan and Huron from Grand Haven north around the tip of the mitt to Alpena and most of eastern Lake Superior. Primarily, the current decree governs the balance between recreational and tribal commercial fishing of lake trout and whitefish in waters in the Treaty of 1836 through a zonal approach.

The Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources (CPMR) has its roots in a 1979 court ruling that affirmed rights under an 1836 Treaty. In 1984, the Coalition was granted amicus status as the first agreement on fishing rights was negotiated and has worked closely on each iteration of the decree since.

Stay tuned to our communication channels as a decision regarding CPMR’s request to intervene may come soon.

To learn more about how to become involved with CPMR or any of its member organizations, please visit the website: https://protectmiresources.com/.

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