UPDATE: Wisconsin lawmaker rips tribes' spearfishing goals

UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 11:20 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The chairman of the Assembly's tourism committee says the Chippewa tribes' new record spearfishing goals are too aggressive.

The Chippewa have declared they want to take 63,488 walleye across northern Wisconsin this spring. The declaration could force the state to impose strict bag limits on non-tribal anglers to conserve the walleye population.

Republican Dean Kaufert leads the Assembly's tourism committee. He threatened to rescind a tribal grant last year because he felt the Chippewa's declaration then was too high.

He says the Chippewa's 2014 goals are overly aggressive and are bound to anger people if the state has to impose tight bag limits for non-tribal fishermen.

A Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 --- 10:33 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's six Chippewa tribes say they want to spear 63,488 walleye across northern Wisconsin this spring.

The quotas represent a 5,089-fish increase over last year's declaration of 58,399. That declaration drove the Department of Natural Resources to limit non-tribal anglers to just one walleye on nearly 200 lakes and two walleye on 331 lakes to protect the fishery, creating tensions between the tribes and state lawmakers concerned about the impact on tourism.

The tribes ultimately took only about 28,400 walleyes, defusing the situation.

DNR Fisheries Bureau Director Mike Staggs says the tribes traditionally take only about half of their declaration. Still, the DNR's board on Wednesday authorized the agency to take additional steps to protect the fishery beyond imposing bag limits. The agency hasn't drafted any specific proposals yet.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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