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INLAND FISHERIES On the cover The cover features a woodland style dancer on ledger art. Ledger art originates on the plains and was prevalent during the 19th century as many native artists had access to accounting ledger books. The image of this ogichidaa warrior emerges at a good time for Anishinaabe people as the battle to keep the environment clean and protected is brought forth. Note the map in the background is of the ceded territories. The style and image also reflect upon the relationship that Ojibwe and plains people have had for centuries. Miigwech to Isaiah Stewart for his artistic abilities. GLIFWC SokaogonMole Lake and St. Croix electrofishing crews completed assessments on two lakes in Minnesota and Michigan and 19 in Wisconsin where GLIFWC also assisted the WDNR on three additional lakes. Pictured is GLIFWC crew member Bill Soulier. photo by Butch Mieloszyk MAZINAIGAN PAGE 2 SUMMER 2015 Tribes respond to Wisconsins 3 bag rule Question ability to effectively monitor state anglers NoteBelowisaletterfromGLIFWCExecutiveAdministratorJamesZornto theNaturalResourcesBoardvoicingspecificconcernsoftheVoigtIntertribalTask Force and offering recommendations in light of the recent 3-bag emergency ruling and the sustainability of the resource. To view information about the emergency rule go to httpdnr.wi.govAboutNRB2015April04-15-3B1.pdf Dear Natural Resources Board It has come to the attention of the Voigt Intertribal Task Force Task Force that the Department of Natural Resources Department is requesting that the Natural Resources Board Board adopt Emergency Board Order FH-17-14E which would set walleye bag limits at three-fish per day within the Ceded Terri- tories with various size limits to prevent a total harvest of more than 35 of the adult walleye population. Additionally the Emergency Board Order would create a catch-and-release only walleye fishery within the Minocqua and Tomahawk chains. These comments are offered on behalf of the Task Force in the context of the Task Forces responsibilities under the Chippewa Intertribal Agreement GoverningResourceManagementandRegulationofOff-ReservationTreatyRights in the Ceded Territory. The Task Force is not in a position to support the Emergency Board Order with respect to the proposed three-bag limit for state anglers because 1 it does not provide sufficient angler accountability by proposing adequate monitoring and enforcement of the changed regulations 2 it does not ensure that state angling regulations can be changed quickly if circumstances change 3 there are some waterbodies where the minimum size limit may need to be increased at the outset and 4 there is no indication that this is an emergency situation. The Task Force also notes that should this Order be adopted it will need to reassess its options in light of the new regulations including potential modifications of its current walleye harvest declarations. The Task Force does agree with the need to institute a catch-and-release only walleye fishery in the Minocqua and Tomahawk chains on an emergency basis. In February the Task Force took action in support of the Lac du Flambeau Bands endorsement of the rehabilitation plan. As you know that plan calls for both the state and tribes to prohibit the harvest of walleye in the Minocqua and Tomahawk chains and no tribe has declared those lakes in its 2015 walleye harvest declara- tion. Although the Task Force supports a catch-and-release only walleye fishery in the Minocqua and Tomahawk chains it wishes to ensure that there is sufficient enforcementefforttoeducateanglersandimplementthecatch-and-releaserequire- ment. The Task Force is also concerned about the causes of the walleye decline and looks forward to working with Department to determine those causes. The concerns of theTask Force about the proposed three bag limit stem from a gradually declining trend in walleye abundance within the CededTerritories from 1989-2015 the estimated number of total ceded territory adult walleye declined by around 200000 fish. The State of Wisconsin must take appropriate measures to ensure that walleye will continue to thrive in this region for many generations to come. It is fully within the purview of the Department to regulate non-treaty harvesthoweveritsregulationsmustnotdiminishtheresourceorcutintothetribal share. Lac Courte Oreilles Band v. Wisconsin 707 F.Supp. 1034 1059 W.D.Wis. 1989.Effectivemanagementrequiresregulationtosustainhealthywalleyestocks including a population density of no less than three adult spawners per acre. Id. 1046. Accordingly the Task Force recommends that the Board takes appropriate measures regardless of whether it adopts Emergency Board Order FH-17-14E by directing the Department to increase state angler accountability by instituting appropriatemonitoringandenforcementensurethattheregulationsareresponsive to potentially rapidly changing circumstances and impose the appropriate length regulations for each body of water i.e. a limit that will be protective of or allow the achievement of the three adult spawner per acre benchmark. Additionally the Department should ensure that it is adequately addressing a variety of factors that may be leading to walleye declines. This should include active enforcement of water quality standards improved standards for shoreline development and enforcement to prevent users or developers from disturbing walleye spawning grounds. Recommendation 1 Increase state angler accountability. The off-reser- vation spear-fishery is completely monitored. Each tribe harvests up to a specified number of fish from a certain number of water bodies with each fish counted and a sample measured and sexed. Creel teams ensure that the tribal take is docu- mented accurately and that each tribe stays within its quota. Tribal conservation enforcement officers actively monitor spear fishing activities. In contrast state angling is incompletely monitored. Creel clerks randomly select state anglers in a handful of lakes requesting their voluntary participation in surveys. Shortly after the Court Decision the Department began conducting up to 40 creel surveys within the Ceded Territories per year. Data collected from those creel surveys are statistically expanded to estimate the number of walleye taken by state anglers in all ceded territory walleye lakes. The Department is now proposing to institute very different regulations on walleye. The Task Force is troubled that this regulatory change is being proposed at a time when the Departments budget is proposed to be cut. The Task Force is concerned that it will be difficult for the Department if these budget cuts are insti- tutedtoeffectivelyenforceandevaluatetheeffectivenessofthesenewregulations. The Task Force recommends that state fishery biologists be charged with developing a plan in partnership with tribal fishery biologists to evaluate the changed regulations. Such a plan would include angling creel surveys and adult walleye population estimates. Benchmarks to determine whether the changed regulations are adequate include three adult spawning walleye per acre in naturally reproducing lakes and a total exploitation rate of no more than 35 of the adult walleye population. The Task Force further recommends that sufficient monitoring and enforce- ment take place so that the Department can 1 proactively evaluate these new regulationsandtheimpacttheyhaveonthenumberandsizeofwalleyethatinhabit and are being harvested from Ceded Territory waters and 2 effectively enforce fishing regulations and prosecute violators. Recommendation 2 The Board should adopt mechanisms to respond quickly to changing circumstances. Current Department of Natural Resource regulation provides that modifications in daily bag limit and size limits to curtail state angling can be made almost immediately in response to tribal harvest. See NR 20.36. A similar regulation could be instituted to immediately change state angling in response to low population density or over-exploitation. Within the proposed regulations there are five types of length standards each more restric- tive. The Department should have the ability to immediately impose the next most restrictive standard if the population fails to maintain or reach the benchmark of three adult spawning walleye per acre. Recommendation 3 The length regulations proposed for each body of water should be sufficiently protective at the outset. The Task Force recom- mends that the length regulations imposed for each water body be designed to achieve the benchmark of three adult spawning walleye per acre. The Task Force notes that many water bodies with naturally reproducing walleye within the Ceded Territories are failing at this measure which is a standard emphasized by Judge Crabb in her LCO case opinions. Prior to adopting length regulations applicable to lakes within the Ceded Territories the Task Force recommends that the Board provide an opportunity for the state fishery biologists and tribal fishery biologists to consult on the appropriate length regulation for individual lakes. Finally the Task Force is doubtful that the three-bag limit portion of the regu- lation change constitutes an emergency. While the closure of walleye harvest on the Minocqua and Tomahawk chains does seem to be necessary to begin to rehabilitate walleye populations there no similar emergency exists on all other ceded territory waterbodies. The Task Force remains committed to removing obstacles and building part- nerships to promote sound biological ceded territory resource management. I have asked Philomena Kebec 715-682-6619 extension 2106 or and Joe Dan Rose at extension 2119 or to assist in facilitating communication and coordination on this matter. As always please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions. sJames E. Zorn Executive Administrator