Michigan BHA Opposes Commercial Targeting of Sport Fish
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. Here in Michigan, we carry out that mission in a truly unique Great Lakes ecosystem. The recently introduced Michigan House Bill 5108 directly threatens that mission by commercializing game fish species long held in the public trust.
The new bill, titled “The Protect Michigan Fishing Act,” in fact paves the way for commercial fishing operations to take and profit from game fish species, including lake trout, smallmouth, panfish, walleye, and perch. These species are managed using fees from license sales and funds from the Dingell-Johnson sports fishing act. They also form the foundation for Michigan’s 2.3 billion dollar annual recreational angling industry. HB 5108 not only threatens that industry and the many shoreline communities it supports, it undermines the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. HB 5108 would reduce the opportunities for recreational anglers by carving out quotas for commercial fisheries, taking from the sportsmen and women of The State of Michigan. Placing additional pressures through commercial take, on already challenged fisheries could have drastic consequences.
The Michigan chapter of BHA opposes HB 5108 and urges lawmakers to protect our state’s incredible heritage of recreational angling for public wildlife in some of the world’s best public waters.