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Hook & Hunting: Tribal, Government Agreement on Fishing Resources Expires in August

A longstanding fishing agreement is about to expire, and it could impact the way everyone in Northern Michigan goes fishing.

The 2000 Consent Decree was finalized between five tribes, the state and the federal government to allocate fishery resources.

That agreement only lasted 20 years, and it will end next week. But so far, new rules haven’t been agreed upon.

The rules affect all the treaty waters in Michigan, which includes bodies from Grand Rapids north to Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

One expert we spoke to said the negotiations are stalled right now.

No matter what happens, some fisherman will end up will less fish than they did 20 years ago because of shrinking resources.

“Nobody knows what’s actually taking place behind closed doors but it could have a big effect on fisherman,” said Stewart McFerran, a fishing expert at the Freshwater Reporter. “20 years ago, the ‘pie’ was…big. Now, 20 years later, the pie is [smaller]. That means all the people within the agreement are going to have less fish to catch.”

Stewart added that the current agreement could be extended, but no concrete plan has been established.