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Great Lakes Consent Decree
On Aug. 24, 2023, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney issued his opinion approving the 2023 Great Lakes Decree. The agreement applies to:
- The State of Michigan
- The United States government
- Five of Michigan’s tribal governments with rights reserved under the 1836 Treaty of Washington:
- The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
- The Bay Mills Indian Community
- The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
- The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
- The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
The agreement will define for the next 24 years how the state, the federal government and the tribes will cooperatively allocate and manage the resources in the 1836 Treaty-ceded waters of the Great Lakes. The opinion and the order approving the 2023 Great Lakes Fishing Decree are available below.
What is the 2000 Consent Decree?
The 2000 Consent Decree is an agreement that governs allocation, management, and regulation of state and tribal fisheries in the 1836 Treaty waters of the Great Lakes. It outlines management of numerous species but puts particular emphasis on lake trout and lake whitefish. It was signed in August 2000 by Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the state of Michigan and the United States. Although originally set to expire in August 2020, it has been extended by a federal court and currently remains in place as the parties negotiate a successor agreement.
Technical Fisheries Committee
The Decree established a Technical Fisheries Committee which is an inter-governmental body comprised of biologists that seek to resolve issues using the best available science. The TFC strives for consensus in all matters brought before it; however, if consensus cannot be reached, the Consent Decree describes a dispute resolution process that is to be followed. When conditions in the lakes warrant a change from the management strategy than was agreed upon in the year 2000, the Decree can be amended by consensus among the parties.
2020 Implementation of the 2000 Consent Decree
This annual report documents sport, commercial, and subsistence harvest and effort by state and tribal fishers as well as enforcement of regulations established by the 2000 Consent Decree.
Current Status of the Stocks Report (2022)
This annual report documents the status of lake trout and lake whitefish populations in the Treaty Management Units of the Great Lakes, as well as the process by which annual harvest limits are calculated for each species.