The Department of Natural Resources at Wisconsin has formally announced the extension of the agreement of allowing fishing in Lake Superior with two tribes from Northern Wisconsin namely Bad River and Red Cliff. The development has come after the 10-year agreement expired in November. The parties decided to extend the agreement by one year for the time being with negotiations continuing between the parties for a new agreement that would be long-term.
According to the Department of Natural Resources supervisor for Lake Superior fisheries, Terry Margenau, it was important for both the parties to actually extend the old agreement and stay on table to negotiate the specifics of a new long-term agreement.
Biologist from the Wisconsin tribe Red Cliff, Chad Abel, chipped in with his opinion as well on the agreement and said that a few changes were negotiated from the previous agreement in this short-term agreement. He pointed out that the changes were made in the locations for commercial fishing. He also said that negotiations were ongoing about the restrictions placed by DNR on certain areas of the Lake Superior within Wisconsin. He said that they have requested to inspect all of the restricted regions along with the personnel with DNR to look at the stated justification for the restriction and to analyze whether there is a chance that the restriction can now be uplifted. The understandings from these inspections would make the task of drafting a new long-term agreement easier.
Chad Abel also said that all unhappy groups are welcome to join the negotiation table in response to the claims made by commercial and sport fishermen who were complaining that their inputs were not taken while deciding this agreement. However, he did say that final decision power on this matter (whether to allow commercial fishermen and sport fishermen group to join the negotiation or not) lies with the state and that the state may not want them on the table so as to quicken the entire process and to get to a final long-term agreement sooner rather than later.