For Immediate Release

Contact: Marc Gaden

May 28, 1997

313-662-3209 ext. 14

Landmark Great Lakes Fisheries Management Plan to be Signed in Ottawa

Agencies will officially endorse updated ‘Joint Strategic Plan

for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries’ after two-year review process

Agencies with fishery management authority on the Great Lakes will gather in Ottawa, Ontario on June 10 to officially endorse an updated version of Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, the landmark plan under which the Great Lakes fishery is collectively managed as an ecosystem. The Plan, which is widely hailed as one of the world’s best examples of cooperative fishery management, has been the subject of an intensive two-year review process in an effort to identify ways in which cooperative Great Lakes fishery management can be enhanced. Major changes to the Plan include an expanded commitment by fish managers to work together to influence all management activities which affect fish; stronger links with environmental management agencies; the establishment of a Council of Great Lakes Fisheries Agencies; and a revised mechanism to resolve interjurisdictional disputes.

The Plan was developed in 1980 by natural resource agencies with responsibility for fisheries management on the Great Lakes. Since that time, the Plan has been the blueprint by which fishery management agencies in both Canada and the United States work cooperatively to achieve common objectives. The Plan identifies the lake committees of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission as the major action arms for the agencies to achieve their joint objectives for sustaining and enhancing the fisheries.

The Plan’s implementation remains rooted in a series of strategic procedures that call for lake committees to define Fish Community Objectives, to identify environmental issues that impede achievement of Fish Community Objectives, and to develop plans for achieving Fish Community and Environmental objectives. Strategic procedures also call for fishery agencies to submit changes in practice to lake committees and to provide annual reports on agencies’ progress in reaching their fishery management objectives. The Plan is based on consensus, but if consensus is not achieved, parties may request independent third party mediation.

Specifically, the major revisions to the Plan include:

"The Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries is the indispensable mechanism by which all management agencies work together on the Great Lakes," said Doug Jester of the Michigan DNR. "The Plan not only reminds us that the Great Lakes resources are shared by many jurisdictions, but it also puts into place mechanisms that ensure that the resource is managed as an ecosystem. Without the Plan, agencies would probably duplicate efforts, would likely work at cross purposes, and would be prone to lose sight of the fact that our natural resources do not observe political boundaries."

Bob Beecher of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources added: "The revised Plan is the culmination of a rigorous review process that investigated any and all ways in which agencies can work together more effectively. The revised Plan strengthens an already superb working arrangement among agencies in the United States and Canada and reaffirms the strong commitment by all agencies to work together toward a true ecosystem approach to management on the Great Lakes."

The signing ceremony will take place during the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s annual meeting, at the Ottawa Sheraton Hotel, on Tuesday, June 10, 1997, at 1:30 p.m. Representatives of the following agencies will sign the revised plan:

Chippewa-Ottawa Treaty Fishery Management Authority

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

Illinois Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

New York Dept of Environmental Conservation

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

(The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, a signatory to the original Plan, has not completed its internal review of the revised Plan, and will not participate in the June 10th signing ceremony.)

A copy of the revised Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries is available on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s website at or by calling the commission at 313-662-3209 ext. 19.

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