whitefish

Fishtown Preservation Society

 

The few full-timers left working as commercial fishers in Michigan received good news this month amid a tumultuous year for the industry.

John Levanen / Flickr

In a scathing letter, several Michigan legislators urged the state Department of Natural Resources to renew all commercial fishing licenses and permits from 2020.

That’s after the DNR announced new restrictions that close the fishery for part of the year and limit the depth where fishers can catch whitefish to 80 feet. 

Robert Ruleau III

 

A dispute between Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and the commercial fishing industry is heading to court. 

 

The state announced it will prohibit fishing in water deeper than 80 feet and other restrictions commercial fishers say will mean the end of their livelihoods. 

T. Lawrence, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

 

The nationwide shutdown was especially ill-timed for fishers in the Great Lakes.

Amanda Holmes

This week we look into why commercial fishers in the Great Lakes have been left out of federal aid for fisheries nationwide, to the tune of $300 million. (The Great Lakes got zero.)

Samantha York / Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry

This week on Points North: Grand Traverse Bay is freezing less and less, according to historical data.

Plus, making music that sounds like melting glaciers.

Ice cover on Lake Michigan is happening less and less, and that’s why Grand Traverse Bay hasn’t frozen this year. 

The bay had already frozen out to Power Island by this time last year and the year before.

Read the full story. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Ice cover on Lake Michigan is happening less and less, and that’s why Grand Traverse Bay hasn’t frozen this year. 

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

Commercial fishers say a package of bills that cleared the Michigan House of Representatives last week will put them out of business. The bills would classify lake trout, walleye and perch as game fish, eliminating the option for a commercial harvest.

Jacques LeBlanc, a commercial fisherman from the Bay Mills Indian Community, pulls a gill net out of the ice on eastern Lake Superior.
Kaye LaFond

This week on Points North, a decline in lake whitefish is pushing tribal commercial fishermen to the northern edge of their treaty waters. Plus, we look at test results for PFAS contamination in Michigan’s public water and meet a funk band from Boyne City.


A man in coveralls bends over a hole in ice and pulls out a net.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio


A decline in lake whitefish is pushing some tribal commercial fishermen out of Lakes Michigan and Huron. They’re spending more time in Lake Superior, the only place they say they can still make a living. This has fishermen and scientists worried about whether whitefish populations there can withstand the extra pressure.

Colin Shea

Saturdays are for selling fish. On this Saturday, Ed and Cindi John aim to earn a week's income in only five hours.

Cindi unfolds the tables while Ed drags big, blue coolers off their truck bed. They’re filled to the brim with fish – cisco, lake trout and lake trout patties.

“We come out rain or shine,” says Cindi. “If it’s pouring rain, we’ll be here.”

 

Morgan Springer

Lake whitefish are the most important commercial fish species in Michigan. But in the last decade, state biologists say fishers are harvesting about a third of what they used to get. 

A fight is brewing over Great Lakes fish

May 4, 2017

The rules for commercial fishing in Michigan are being rewritten in Lansing. The law is old and needs to be updated. There are only 21 non-tribal businesses licensed by the state to catch fish for market. Tribes fish under their own rules.

It’s the busy time of year for commercial fishing on the Great Lakes. But the price of whitefish is about half what it was three years ago, because of problems with international trade.