Wisconsin Legislature (Chapter 418, Laws of 1977, Section 923 (37) -

 2. The fish resources of the state are capable of being managed scientifically to maintain an adequate and stable resource for all uses. Past management of the Great Lakes has been unable to prevent depletion of the fish resources.
Current management has still been unable to prevent depletion, of Wisconsin's Smelt, Yellow Perch, Chubs and Alewives. click on any to see graph for that species. While these commercial species populations have been decimated, the number of and management of the commercial fleet remains basically unchanged.

3. .... provide for multi-use management of the Great Lakes fishery, including an economically viable and stable commercial fishery and an active recreational fishery.
Commercial fishing hasn't been economically viable since pre-1991. Question 81 on the 2010 WCC ballot and 2000 Fisheries Task force report, both state “Commercial Fishing benefits all residents of the state of Wisconsin, and we recognize that it will never be self supporting". It's clear the current commercial fishery, requiring subsidies of outside funds, is in violation of State Law. It's also clear that for over 10 years the DNR knew it would never be in compliance with law. Why then is there commercial fishing?
Why isn't commercial fishing closed to comply with the law? Why the continued theft of sport license funds to subsidize commercial fishing?
How stable is a fishery where commercial limits are changed 11 times in 25 years, from a high of 'No Limit' to a low of 20,000 lbs of Green Bay perch?

4. "The intent of this legislation in revising commercial fishing laws is further to assure those persons currently participating in and earning the majority of their income from the fishery the opportunity to continue to do so for a period of 5 years ..."
Why wasn't commercial fishing closed in 1991 when the first subsidy was mention in a DNR report?
To read the entire document from the WI Legis site, click here . This law referenced/stated by Matt Frank DNR in a letter Dec. 2009.


What is supposed to be done:
(9) Sport fishing shall be managed in such a way that all have an equal opportunity to safely enjoy the aquatic resources, regulated to the extent that:
(a) Fish and other aquatic resources are protected and enhanced;
(b) Fishing effort does not exceed the capabilities of the resource to sustain desirable, quality fish populations;
(c) The social, biological and economic values associated with all recreational fishing, competitive and non−competitive, are recognized;

What is in fact actually done:
- Commercial fishing shifts the perch population to mostly male and reduces the average size and age of perch, thereby degrading not enhancing the fishery.
- When nets were finally removed from Lake Michigan the average size perch kept by sportsmen was 2.6 times heavier, a truly desirable, quality perch.
- Effort has exceeded the capabilities for over 50 years, since now perch numbers are down 97%.
- WDNR recommended a 50/50 split of perch harvest, even though per Dr. Bishop finds that sport caught fish are worth 10 times more to the economy. So the WDNR fails to recognize the economic value of sport perch fishing. The DNR closes commercial alewives for salmon fishermen, but not perch for the more numerous perch fishermen, why?
- Also, “Compared with an estimated $2.1 million economic impact of the five Illinois commercial operators, the Chicago sport perch fishery sustains and estimated value of $80 million". read here.
- 1993 CanAm Sting finds 400,000 lbs (~1.2 million perch) were taken illegally by some commercials over 4 years. Dr. Wilberg estimated a total of about 1.9 million lbs (~5.7 million perch) were more likely taken illegally during those four years. Even with the help of Federal enforcement officers, the WDNR proved unable to protect this resource.

Wis Stat. 29.519 Commercial fishing in outlying waters.

29.519(1m)(b) (b) The department may limit the number of licenses issued under this section and designate the areas in the outlying waters under the jurisdiction of this state where commercial fishing operations shall be restricted. After giving due consideration to the recommendations made by the commercial fishing boards under sub. (7), the department may establish species harvest limits and promulgate rules to establish formulas for the allocation of the species harvest limits among commercial fishing licensees or for the allotment of individual licensee catch quotas. The department may allocate the harvest limits among commercial fishing licensees. The department may designate the kind, size and amount of gear to be used in the harvest. The limitations on licenses, restricted fishing areas, harvests and gear shall be based on the available harvestable population of fish and in the wise use and conservation of the fish so as to prevent overexploitation.

"...based on the available harvestable population".             Not what was available 5 years ago!?!?!