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The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on the Earth's surface, home to a fragile fishery, and delicate shoreline beaches and dunes. They are also central to northern Michigan tourism, economies and our way of life.

Cross Fisheries charged with illegal lake trout sales


A popular fishery in northern Michigan was charged with illegally buying and selling lake trout. John Cross of Cross Fisheries in Charlevoix was sentenced to a year in prison and will pay a fine of more than $1 million.

Lake trout is heavily protected by state, tribal and federal agencies. A press release says Cross bought almost 50,000 pounds of the fish that was harvested by a trap net, but he reported that he got it via gillnet.

Fisheries Biologist Mark Ebener says what Cross did is more common than you would think

"I think what the feds are doing is they’re trying to send a big message that people need to stop illegal lake trout harvesting," Ebener says.

Cross Fisheries was also accused of misreporting their whitefish harvest. The arrest was made as part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife undercover operation called ‘Fishing for Funds.’