Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minnesota DNR, Red Lake Nation renew agreement

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Red Lake Nation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs have signed a new five-year agreement that outlines how the parties will work together to maintain the health of the Upper and Lower Red lakes fishery.

The new memorandum of understanding closely parallels a 1999-2009 agreement that helped restore high-quality walleye fishing to Minnesota’s largest inland body of water. The agreement, among other things, states each entity will support the Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee, a joint panel of experts that recommends policies and practices to maintain a healthy fishery.

“We’ve come a long way in the past decade,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten, noting that anglers have caught more than 1.1 million pounds of walleye since the lake was reopened to fishing in 2006. “By renewing this agreement, we are reaffirming our commitment to a process that has delivered results.”

“Red Lake Band members are pleased that our walleye have come back and our fishing community is revitalized,” said Floyd Jourdain Jr., chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. “We are committed to ensuring that Red Lake walleye are managed sustainably in the future. Renewing this agreement will enable the Fisheries Technical Committee to continue its work to help protect this valuable resource.”

The agreement was signed today during a brief ceremony in Red Lake. Historically, Upper and Lower Red lakes were outstanding walleye fisheries, but they collapsed in the mid-1990s due to over harvest.

The Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee was formed in 1998. Since then, the regulations, policies and other actions this joint body has recommended have led to a healthy walleye population and a resurgent walleye fishing economy.

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