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Column: Minnesota tribes should adjust treaty fishing techniques

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: fishing, minnesota, supreme court, treaties

Columnist says Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota should adjust their upcoming fishing season in order to protect walleye:
Getting small walleye to grow big spotlights the next step that must be taken quickly.

The Chippewa bands granted harvest rights on the lake under a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling should adopt measures that reduce or stop their taking of small walleye — those less than 18 inches in length.

That's what the DNR is making anglers do in the interest of protecting the resource for the long term. If the bands truly want to protect the resource around which centuries of their cultural traditions are built, they will amend their tactics this spring.

At the least, they should increase the size of the squares in the gill nets. This will allow smaller fish to escape. Better yet, don't use gill nets. Instead, use spears, which allow a more selective harvest than nets that kill everything they entangle.

Again, to not make any changes — especially knowing the intense restrictions forced on anglers and the local economy — sends the undeniable message tribe members are putting themselves ahead of doing what's best for the lake.

Get the Story:
Randy Krebs: Mille Lacs rules are good start; Indians are up next (The St. Cloud Times 3/30)

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