Michigan Charter Boat Association
A Statement by the Michigan Charter Boat Association against Senate Bill 1145, a Commercial Fishing Amendment
By MCBA President Eric Andersen, Vice President Bill Winowiecki, and Director Tony Radjenovich
We represent the Michigan Charter Boat Association. We would like to thank Chairman Holly Hughes and other Committee Members for the opportunity to provide comments on Senate Bill 1145.
The Michigan Charter Boat Association is a support group to the charter fishing industry represents over 400 small business in over 100 ports in Michigan. We provide support to our members for Coast Guard Licensing and Laws; we have been doing this for over 45 years. We also provide a U.S.C.G approved drug-testing program to our members.
We work with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on fish stocking and laws to protect the fishery and great lakes. We support captains on all the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan.
Managing the fisheries of the Great Lakes is a complex task that needs input and consideration from various governments, multiple states and provincial Departments of Natural Resources, federal treaties and stakeholders associations which manage and use the resources. SB 1145 does not allow for the input and consideration aforementioned.
Currently, Fisheries of the Great Lakes are managed by provincial, state, and tribal agencies, with support from the Canadian and U. S. federal governments. Management of Great Lakes fisheries occurs cooperatively for fish populations that support recreational, commercial, or subsistence fisheries or support having a well-balanced and productive fish community. Fishery management agencies agreed in 1981 to cooperate through a non-binding agreement called A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries.
This agreement abides by current law which does not need to be changed.
A Fisheries Management Implementation Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Lake Trout in Lake Michigan, updated on an annual basis as reported in March of 2018.
“Overall, based on recent gillnet assessments, the percentage of wild lake trout within the lake trout population remains below 20% in all areas of Lake Michigan except Illinois waters and MM8. Therefore, we conclude that lake trout populations are in the early stages of recovery, and we recommend adhering to the implementation strategy objectives, which are appropriate management tools to measure continued progress toward lake trout rehabilitation in Lake Michigan”.
According to Michigan Sea Grant. The Charter Boat Industry has big implications for coastal tourism. In 2016 charter fishing generated $23 million to Michigan’s coastal communities, resulting in 476,361 employment hours.
Lake Michigan’s charter fishery is the largest. Accounting for around 70 percent of the State’s Charter Fishing effort, according to Michigan DNR, charter captains catch reports.
Lake Trout are the major target fish for the charter boat captains since the predator-prey imbalance has caused major cuts in salmon plants in Lake Michigan, the past 10 years.
For five decades, lake trout have been protected from overharvesting caused by Commercial Fishing during the year’s prior.
We have a Tribal Decree with five Michigan Tribes to rehabilitate lake trout in Lake Michigan this agreement expires August 27, 2020. Senate bill 1145 would cause major implications with negotiations of the new 2020 Tribal Consent Decree. These are just a few of the major implications that would affect our industry.
We would like to reaffirm that the Michigan Charter Boat Association and the sportfishing community are united and highly opposed to Senate Bill 1145.
MCBA board highly recommends that our members please contact Representative Holly Hughes (Muskegon) on this bill today!
Holly Hughes (R) Committee Chair, 91st District
TOLL FREE: 877-633-0331
Scott Dianda (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 110th District
PHONE: (517) 373-0850
Cara Clemente (D) 14th District
Captain Eric Andersen, President
Michigan Charter Boat Association