March 11, 2016 AISA current stance regarding a Lake Superior National Marine Reserve

Many of you have heard about the effort to make the Apostle Islands a National Marine Reserve. And the AISA has been asked if we support this. At this time the AISA has not taken a position because of several concerns that have not been adequately answered. The creation of a National Marine Reserve for the Apostle Islands could very well upset the applecart in terms of fisheries management.Currently the WDNR and the Red Cliff and Bad River bands of Ojibwa co-manage the Apostle Islands fishery. While not perfect, they have been able to do it successfully for the last 30+ years. Introducing another authority into the mix, especially one that has its own agenda, could destroy the current balance that has been established between the Ojibwa Bands and the State of Wisconsin. Federal Departments such as the National Park Service have taken positions here and in other areas in the past in regards to the stocking of non native species such as Brown and Rainbow Trout, Splake, and others. These species are an important part of the sport fishery of the Apostle Islands. Before supporting a NMS for the Apostle Islands, AISA would need to know that NOAA would refrain from interfering with the current fisheries management system for the Apostle Islands. UPDATE: We have been in contact with Ellen Brody, NOAA Great Lakes Coordinator for Sanctuaries, and have been assured that wording can be put into the memorandum with the State that would protect our rights as they stand now. We will continue to monitor this as it develops. Update: After discussions with Ellen Brody, as well as reviewing the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Michigan, it is felt that there are safeguards in the system to protect the current State/Tribal management of the fishery, as such, the AISA has no objection to a development of a marien sanctuary in the Apostle Islands.