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Boreal Community Media

Fond du Lac Band plans to exercise netting rights on Lake Superior

Nov 22, 2019 01:55PM ● By Editor

By Ramona Marozas of KBJR-TV - November 21, 2019

The Fond du Lac Band says a handful of their members are interested in exercising their 1854 treaty rights to fish on Lake Superior.

They began gauging interest in September, and the Band’s Resource Management Division says their process to begin netting on Lake Superior is in its early stages.

They’re currently exploring subsistence netting of whitefish and herring on Lake Superior, potentially for next season, according to the Division.

Subsistence netting provides members with a food source and is not commercial fishing.

The Reservation Business Committee is requiring any interested netter to apprentice with a Grand Portage Band member netter before going out themselves.

FDL posted this announcement to their website in September:

Netting in Lake Superior: FDL Resource Management Division has been working with the State and the US Coast Guard to open up whitefish & herring netting in Lake Superior in the not-too-distant future. This planned activity will be for subsistence netting at this time. Given the added danger of setting nets on Lake Superior, the FDLRBC is requiring any interested netter to apprentice/orientation with a Grand Portage Bandmember netter. RMD has worked with Grand Portage to start this apprentice/orientation program as early as this fall (October and November). While the exact details and logistics are still being worked out, our plans are for our netters to join up with Grand Portage netters later this fall and participate and observe the fall herring/whitefish netting season. Call 878-7101 for questions. Details will be added online as they are available.

DNR statement on Lake Superior netting:

The Fond du Lac Band Resource Management Division reached out to DNR earlier this year to discuss exercising 1854 treaty rights to fish on Lake Superior. We met with them to discuss how we regulate the state fishery and answer questions on how that fishery operates. Once they begin fishing, it starts an up to five year timetable for Fond du Lac to develop a management plan for their fishery. However, we are already working collaboratively to assist them develop that plan.

U.S. Coast Guard statement on Lake Superior netting:

The U.S. Coast Guard is the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for any case prosecuted within their region. Sector Sault Sainte Marie retains this authority for Lake Superior and monitors VHF Channel 16, which is intended for distress and safety calls. The Coast Guard encourages boaters (commercial or recreational) to file float plans with an estimated time they’ll return home, planned voyage, and number of people onboard, and it is best practice to ensure radios are in working order prior to getting underway. There are ways of mitigating risks, and the Coast Guard provides training at no cost to mariners interested in cold water safety and preparation.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here