LANSING, Mich., Oct. 11, 2023 — State Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor) introduced House Bill 5108, known as the Protect Michigan Fishing Act, to protect sport and commercial fishing in Michigan. The legislation would ensure sport fishing remains a top priority; empower the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to manage natural resources like water and fish, and help Michigan’s commercial fisheries provide more opportunities for citizens to access fresh fish from Michigan waters of the Great Lakes.
“I grew up on a commercial fishery in Pinconning, and I am the proud son of generations of fishermen,” Morgan said. “After years of struggling to make ends meet due to changing lake conditions and an increasingly challenging regulatory framework, my father sold our family business a few years ago. Commercial fishing was a founding industry of our state, generating income for tens of thousands of Michiganders, but it’s now in serious trouble with only three fisheries existing today. We need not only to protect the ecosystem of our Great Lakes but also repeal the harmful regulations that have negatively impacted the fishing industry.”
The Protect Michigan Fishing Act would amend Part 473 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act that governs non-tribal fishing on the Great Lakes. The legislation would require the DNR to manage fish based on data collection and analysis and to establish quotas, taking into account species, size and number. It would also support the DNR as a strong regulatory body, allowing the department to promulgate rules and conduct fisheries management while providing regulatory relief for small businesses. The legislation would also update dated fishing rules, which has earned support from the commercial fishing industry.
“I’ve been the executive director of the Fishtown Preservation Society for 16 years, overseeing this historic site and working waterfront,” Amanda Holmes said. “Our mission at Fishtown Preservation Society is to help preserve the past and present of this industry that has been a part of Michigan since before it became a state. Michigan’s natural resources are unparalleled, especially the Great Lakes. If managed correctly, it can also be an incredible and readily available local food source. We want the opportunity to offer diverse species that the Great Lakes provide and are excited to work with Representative Morgan on this bill.”