NOVEMBER 6, 2019

Public Hearing on Lake Michigan Whitefish Rule Nov. 20

CLEVELAND, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing on a permanent rule regulating bottom trawling for lake whitefish on Lake Michigan. The hearing will take place on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Lakeshore Technical College (Lake Michigan room) in Cleveland.

Written comments on the rule and its potential impacts will be accepted through Nov. 23 to the address on the hearing notice. For hearing information and additional details on the proposed permanent rules visit the DNR website.

Bottom trawling for lake whitefish has occurred since 2015 in an area of Lake Michigan near Two Rivers as part of a cooperative study between the department, Sea Grant and a commercial fishing company. Under this proposed rule, commercial fishers could elect to bottom trawl in this area as an alternative to using nets to fill their preexisting lake whitefish quotas.

"The trawl study was created, designed and implemented to determine the feasibility of using a bottom trawl to harvest lake whitefish in this specific area of Lake Michigan," said DNR Great Lakes fisheries supervisor Brad Eggold. "Statistically sound data and science from the study provided the basis for the development of the rule, which provides for the sustainability of lake whitefish harvests using bottom trawls and protects important game species. This rule will create consistent regulations for all commercial fishers that choose to bottom trawl while minimizing incidental catch of important game fish such as lake trout."

This rule would standardize gear, monitoring and reporting requirements for trawling for lake whitefish. Limits on the area open to trawling, number of licenses, trawl dimensions, trawling season, amount of time per trawl drag and the overall whitefish quota will prevent overharvest of lake whitefish and minimize incidental catch.

To learn more about Lake Michigan commercial fishing, visit the DNR website and search "Lake Michigan fisheries."

Contact(s): Brad Eggold, Great Lakes district fisheries supervisor, 414-303-0138, Bradley.Eggold@wisconsin.gov