Engler Praises Sen. Abraham's Efforts Resulting in $2 Million for Great Lakes Fishing Agreement with Indian Tribes

Contact: John Truscott (517) 335-6397

Governor John Engler today praised Michigan U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham for his work in procuring $2 million, from the U.S. Interior Department's General Fund, in payments to Michigan Indian tribes as part of the settlement reached on Great Lakes fishing in August. Sen. Abraham also received a commitment from the federal government to provide an additional $6.25 million by the 2002 Fiscal Year.

"Thanks to Senator Abraham's efforts, $2 million from the federal government will be used to implement the Great Lakes Fishing Settlement," said Governor Engler. "His work means this agreement - which is vital for the protection of fishery resources in Michigan - will result in the rehabilitation of lake trout and protect and enhance Michigan's multi-billion dollar sport fishing industry."

The agreement signed on Aug. 7 requires the state to provide tribes with trap net vessels and equipment in a voluntary exchange for tribal gill net tugs. This exchange will result in the removal of as much as 15 to 18 million feet of gill nets. The federal funds will be used to provide access for tribal fishermen, as well as law enforcement, biological assessment and fisheries research.

The State of Michigan has already spent $14 million to cover its obligations, and has appropriated $17 million in this fiscal year for settlement purposes. The federal contribution is a critical component of the agreement, which would have been voided without this additional funding.

The following parties are part of the August 7 settlement:

  • Bay Mills Indian Community
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians;
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians;
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians;
  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians;
  • The State of Michigan; and
  • The United States of America