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Monday, March 30, 2020

Michigan's commercial fishers say House bills restricting catches would hurt businesses


By Ethen Lieser | Mar 4, 2020


Great Lakes commercial fishers say the three-bill bundle that passed the Michigan State House last month would kill at least six of their 13 full-time businesses.

House Bills 4567, 4568 and 4569 aim to ban commercial fishing of yellow perch, walleye and lake trout. The hope is that those fish would be reserved for recreational fishers.

The bills would also regulate fishers’ gear and impose penalties for catching illegal game.

"From my perspective, private anglers are paying the vast majority of the cost related to regulations in this market," bill sponsor Rep. Jim Lilly (R-Park Township) told The Center Square. “They don’t necessarily get all of the benefits.”

Lakon Williams, whose family has run the Bay Port Fish Co. since 1978, told The Center Square she isn’t too concerned over the increased fees, but the catch restrictions would decimate the company. Yellow perch accounts for about 50 percent of Bay Port Fish Co.’s  summer revenue.

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