Week of February 7 , 2005
Product Review Gerber Knives
Using Tout/Salmon Stamp $$$ to compromise Salmon plants will not be tolerated
In a letter forwarded by their legal counsel to Wisconsin's fish chief Mike Staggs, the Milwaukee Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Club and the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs are disturbed over the continued planting of walleye in the Milwaukee area of Lake Michigan to the detriment of salmon plants.
The clubs which together represent more than 150,000 Great Lakes anglers have put Wisconsin's Fish Chief Mike Staggs and the WI DNR on notice that using Tout/Salmon Stamp dollars to compromise Salmon plants in Lake Michigan will not be tolerated. An obvious next step is to put the agency on notice of their intent to sue regarding the allegations.
The letter here is reproduced – unedited - in its entirety.
The Milwaukee Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Club, the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs and their affiliated groups oppose implementation of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (“WDNR”) Draft Milwaukee River Estuary Walleye Management Plan (the “Plan”) dated November 20, 2004 and will oppose any similar plan to introduce walleye to any portion of Lake Michigan and its tributaries. These groups believe that stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, yet it has not undergone appropriate environmental impact review and the comments of opponents have been disregarded and their questions unanswered.
It is well documented that walleye are voracious predators of young trout, salmon and other small fish, such as yellow perch. It is also well established that the stocked walleye eat
the young trout and salmon that were paid for by trout and salmon stamp fees. Contrary to statute, therefore, the WDNR intentionally is feeding the walleye with fish grown using funds designated for the trout and salmon program, without replenishing those fish. This action results in a direct, adverse effect to the trout and salmon fishery, as well as to Wisconsin’s multi-million dollar Great Lakes fishing industry.
The goal of establishing a naturally reproducing walleye population is incompatible with the pre-existing trout and salmon program upon which so many fee payers rely and around which a substantial trout and salmon fishing industry has grown to materially benefit Wisconsin’s economy. The undersigned believe that any further introduction of walleye will substantially and materially harm the successful trout and salmon fishery, which was developed by monies collected for that purpose through sales of trout and salmon stamps. The destruction of a successful trout and salmon fishery for the purposes specified in the Plan is wasteful of trout and salmon stamp fees and contrary to the statutory purposes of the trout and salmon program.
On behalf of the Milwaukee Great Lakes Sportfishermen Club, the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs and their affiliated groups, we submit the enclosed comments in opposition to the continued stocking of walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary and the implementation of the WDNR’s Plan.
William P. Scott
Attorney at Law
DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C.
Milwaukee Great Lakes Sportfishermen Club, Ltd.
and Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs, Inc.
Position Paper Opposing Continued Stocking of Walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary
The positions set forth in this document are supported by 12 separate fishing groups, including the Milwaukee Great Lakes Sportfishermen Club, Ltd. and the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs, Inc. (collectively the “Groups”), that collectively represent approximately 150,000 Great Lakes fishermen and women, who annually pay more than $1.7 million in Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Stamp fees and whose sport is credited with infusing $4.5 billion into the Great Lakes States’ economy each year. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (“WDNR”) decision to continue stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River and the Milwaukee River Estuary threatens the trout and salmon fisheries and the fishing industry that they sustain.
The Groups steadfastly oppose all stocking of walleye in Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River Estuary and the lower Milwaukee River, ask that no further walleye stocking be performed in those waters, and ask that any current and future proposals for any additional stocking of walleye anywhere in the those waters be disapproved and all funding denied.
The WDNR has haphazardly stocked almost 12 million walleye of questionable genetics into the waters of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River and the Milwaukee River Estuary over the past 17 years without first performing appropriate environmental impact review as required by law and without following its own proposals. The WDNR promotes the stocking of walleye for its own purposes, which vary from maintaining the status quo, to securing money for habitat advancement projects, to preserving the budgets for hatcheries that would otherwise be underutilized. To that end, WDNR has failed to perform work it proposed in past proposals and has manipulated the work actually performed to avoid collecting data that would impugn its conclusions regarding the actual effects of stocking walleye.
Stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary significantly affects the quality of the aquatic and human environment. It is well documented in Wisconsin and across the nation that walleye are voracious predators of young trout, salmon and other small fish, including yellow perch. It also is well established that the stocked walleye eat the young trout and salmon that were paid for by trout and salmon stamp fees. It is a misuse of segregated fees to feed the walleye with fish grown using funds designated for the trout and salmon program.
The goal of establishing a naturally producing walleye population is wholly incompatible with the pre-existing trout and salmon program upon which so many fee payers rely and around which a substantial trout and salmon fishing industry has grown to materially benefit Wisconsin’s economy.
It is time to take legislative and legal action to stop the WDNR’s waste of trout and salmon stamp fees and hold the WDNR accountable for violating the law.
A. Stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary significantly affects the quality of the aquatic and human environment, as young trout and salmon stocks are materially depredated by walleye to the extent that the presence of walleye threatens the viability of the pre-existing trout and salmon fishery, and this adverse environmental impact has never been reviewed in conformance with the law.
B. It is well documented in Wisconsin and other states that walleye are voracious predators of young trout, salmon and other small fish, such as yellow perch. It is also well established that the stocked walleye eat the young trout and salmon that were paid for by trout and salmon stamp fees. It is a misuse of segregated fees to feed the walleye with fish grown using funds designated for the trout and salmon program.
C. The goal of establishing a naturally reproducing walleye population is incompatible with the pre-existing trout and salmon program upon which so many fee payers rely and around which a substantial trout and salmon fishing industry has grown to materially benefit Wisconsin’s economy. In fact, WDNR staff previously have expressed no support for walleye stocking in Lake Michigan tributaries.
D. The WDNR promotes the stocking of walleye for its own purposes, which vary from maintaining the status quo, to securing money for habitat advancement projects, to preserving budgets for hatcheries that would otherwise be underutilized. To that end, the WDNR has failed to perform work it proposed in past proposals and has manipulated the work actually performed to avoid collecting data that would impugn its conclusions about the actual effects of stocking walleye.
IV. LEGAL GROUNDS
A. The WDNR has acted arbitrarily and capriciously in failing to follow the terms and conditions of the research studies it proposes, approves and funds with segregated fees from sales of trout and salmon stamps, and there are no controls in place to eliminate such arbitrary and capricious acts in the future.
1. The WDNR has stated it would discontinue walleye stocking after the first stocking event if it were shown that serious depredation of trout and salmon by the walleye occurred in the first year of walleye stocking. However, even though WDNR estimated that stocked walleye consumed 1,123 salmon during the first three weeks, walleye stocking continued. The following year, WDNR estimated that 30,162 salmon were eaten by walleye during the first three weeks.
2. The WDNR has stated it would discontinue walleye stocking if natural reproduction were not evident. Natural reproduction is not evident in the Milwaukee River Estuary, even after 17 years of stocking almost 12 million walleye, yet the stocking proposals persist. Failure to reproduce naturally is one indicator that the genetic strain is not native to the water, but an exotic nuisance.
3. WDNR has stated it would perform stomach surveys of walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike in spring and fall to determine the rate of walleye predation upon trout and salmon. However, only Chinook surveys (post smolt) were performed in the spring, and these were limited to smallmouth bass, walleye and other predators. Additionally, WDNR did not continue the fall stomach surveys after only two events, because it did not want to obtain data unfavorable to continued walleye stocking.
4. The WDNR has stated it would discontinue walleye stocking if depredation upon trout and salmon were serious or surpassed 5%. Yet when 32,000 trout and salmon were eaten by walleye in 1997 and the depredation levels reached an astonishing 16%, the DNR continued to stock another 47,000 walleye over the next seven years.
B. The WDNR has failed to follow its own internal environmental impact procedures in performing past walleye stocking and in proposing the continued walleye stocking of the Milwaukee River Estuary, in violation of Wisconsin Statutes section 1.11.
1. The WDNR has failed to properly categorize its past and proposed research projects as stocking or introducing a fish species or strain that is not native or established in Wisconsin’s portion of Lake Michigan, in violation of Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 150.03(5)(a)14.
2. The WDNR has failed to properly categorize its past and proposed research projects as involving substantial habitat manipulation and therefore, a Type II action in need of specific environmental impact review procedures, in violation of Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 150.03(5)(a)13.
3. The WDNR has failed to properly categorize its past and proposed research projects as long range plans for the Milwaukee River Estuary that will predetermine future, individual departmental actions, in violation of Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 150.03(6)(a)5.
C. The WDNR’s conduct and pursuit of walleye stocking in the Milwaukee River Estuary has, from its inception, been arbitrary and capricious, and there is no reason to believe the current proposal would be implemented any differently.
1. The Department of Natural Resources implemented trial stockings of Walleye in 1995 and 1996 and then implemented a long range-stocking program from 1998 to 2004. Those stocking programs were based upon proposals, which were not followed by the WDNR during the course of its activities.
2. Although recognizing that “walleyes are a top predator” and expressing concern for their compatibility with stocked trout and salmon, the WDNR has introduced walleye into “outlying trout and salmon waters” in locations where it is foreseeable they will eat the fall stocked trout and salmon, as is abundantly clear from scientific literature from other states.
D. The WDNR’s conduct in intentionally taking steps to destroy the trout and salmon fishing industry constitutes an unconstitutional regulatory taking, without just compensation, of reasonable investment-backed expectations that the trout and salmon program would be administered as required by law, that expenditures of trout and salmon fees would comply with statutory requirements and that WDNR would not willfully act contrary to the requirements of Wisconsin Statutes section 29.191(5).
E. The WDNR has committed and intends to commit waste by its actions in stocking top predators that are known to eat trout and salmon that were paid for by fee payers, by stocking trout and salmon already paid for by fee payers in a manner in which their survival is assuredly minimized and by its actions to artificially create a self-sustaining, breeding population of known predators of the statutorily funded trout and salmon that are already paid for by fee payers.
F. In sacrificing the fall stocked trout and salmon to the waiting predatory walleye, the WDNR has breached its legal duty as Trustee for the people to protect and preserve the fish resources of the state from destruction or undue reduction in numbers.
G. In sacrificing the fall stocked trout and salmon to the waiting predatory walleye, the WDNR has breached it’s fiduciary duty under Wisconsin Statutes section 29.191(5) to spend trout and salmon stamp fees to supplement and enhance the existing trout and salmon rearing and stocking program for “outlying waters,” which includes the entire length of the Milwaukee River from its mouth all the way upstream to the first dam.
H. In sacrificing the fall stocked trout and salmon to the waiting predatory walleye, the WDNR has unlawfully used trout and salmon funds contrary to Wisconsin Statute section 29.191(5) to feed the walleye for the purpose of artificially creating a self-sustaining, breeding population of these known predators of the trout and salmon that were paid for by fee payers.
V. GROUPS SUPPORTING THE POSTIONS STATED ABOVE.
Great Lakes Sport Fishermen of Milwaukee
Louis Kowieski, Delegate
Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Clubs
The next meeting of the Lake Huron Fishing Club will be held on Thursday, February 10, 2005 at the Underwood Community Centre at 7:30. Mr Dave Reid of Owen Sound Ministry of
Natural Resources will be our guest speaker. He will discuss
the results of fin clipping on the salmon and bait fish levels as well as the general condition of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.
For more info about the Lake Huron Fishing Club: http://www.bmts.com/~fish/
CHEYENNE (AP)- Clear-cutting 25 % of forest land would help alleviate the ongoing drought, a U.S. Forest Service official told Wyoming lawmakers.
Testifying before the Legislature's Joint Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee on Thursday, Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Rick Cables said his agency was looking at ways to make more water available from public forest lands. "Water is going to be the defining environmental issue in this country and in the West, and there's a lot of interest in increasing water yields" on forest
lands," Cables said.
Cables said studies had shown that it took a 25 percent clear cut to get an appreciable gain in water, and that areas must remain open permanently to maintain the water gain. Some lawmakers questioned whether the public would support such substantial cutting.
"We have to educate people, to try and give the most accurate, honest information about the facts and the reality of the choices before the public," Cables said. "One choice is 25 % of the forest being managed in an open condition."
Sportsmen's Caucuses Will Play Key Role in Fighting Legislative Efforts
Washington, DC. - No doubt formed in reaction to the increasing effectiveness of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and the newly formed National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses, the Humane Society of the United States announced today that it is taking animal advocacy to a whole new level with the launch of a new lobbying arm. Announcing the launch of a new organization temporarily named the HSUS Fund for Animals, the HSUS e-newsletter HUMANElines stated "we're taking our fight to end animal suffering and abuse straight to Capitol Hill and to every state legislature.... [This new organization] will multiply our efforts to move lawmakers ... and keep those who would exploit animals for fun and profit from dominating the ears of legislators."
"The HSUS and other anti-hunting and fishing organizations have obviously felt the heat in the legislative arena that has been brought to bear through the collective muscle of federal and state legislators willing to stand shoulder to shoulder to protect and promote the interests of sportsmen," stated Melinda Gable, Executive Director of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "These extremists may be able to lay claim to an annual budget of more than $90 million to
support their agenda, but they certainly don't have the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus in the U.S. Congress totaling over 300 members and the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses counting more than 1,500 state legislators affiliated with one of 22 state sportsmen's caucuses."
The new 501(c)4 organization touts that it will have no restrictions on lobbying and can work exclusively on animal protection legislation. Already focusing on its 2005 agenda, the legislative priorities under the new HSUS lobbying arm will include passing a federal bill to crack down on high-fence hunts, placing a measure on the 2006 ballot in Michigan to restore a ban on hunting mourning doves, and more.
"Sportsmen should know that they have identified allies in the U.S. Capitol and state capitals across the country serving as the first line of defense in protecting America's outdoor hunting traditions. The Congressional and state sportsmen caucus will be key in protecting the future of hunting," stated Jeff Crane, CSF Director of Policy. "While we have had 15 years of success promoting a pro-sportsmen's agenda in the U.S. Congress and beating back anti-efforts, this is certainly no time to rest on our laurels. We need to pay close attention to these efforts and ensure that our elected allies are prepared to fight the battles that are surely ahead."
GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- A federal judge ruled last week that the Bush administration violated the Endangered Species Act when it relaxed protections on many gray wolves. The decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Jones in Portland rescinds a rule change that allowed ranchers to shoot wolves if they were attacking livestock, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group.
In April 2003, the USFWS divided the wolves' range into three areas and reclassified the Eastern and Western populations as threatened instead of endangered. The Eastern segment covers the area from the Dakotas east to Maine, while the Western segment extends west from the Dakotas. The agency left wolves in the Southwest classified as endangered.
But the judge ruled the government acted improperly by
combining areas where wolves were doing well, such as Montana, with places where their numbers had not recovered.
In response to the court decision, the Service issued the following statement:
“The Service is disappointed with the Court’s ruling striking down the rule that downlisted gray wolf populations from endangered to threatened in the Western and Eastern U.S. We believe our rule provided for biologically sound management of the core population of wolves in areas where we knew they could thrive as stable, viable populations. We also believe the rule was correct as a matter of law under the Endangered Species Act. We are currently studying the court’s opinion and working with the attorneys at the Department of Justice to better understand its implications and determine our future course of action.”
An organization that supports the terror tactics employed by extremist animal rights groups has issued a comprehensive and shocking report of vandalism and destruction that occurred last year in the name of animals. They boast of nearly two attacks occurring each day.
Bite Back, a group and magazine that supports the Animal Liberation Front’s (ALF) underground activist work, has issued
the 2004 Direct Action Report. It proudly highlights attacks that ALF affiliates have performed worldwide against sportsmen, farmers, furriers, researchers and others. The fur industry was the most common target.
In 2004, animal rights terrorists committed more with 554 acts of sabotage worldwide. Destruction included at least 20 arson attacks, smashed windows, glued locks, slashed tires and destruction of hunting equipment.
A large system of high-pressure sat over the Great Lakes basin this week, leading to quiet weather conditions. Mild temperatures for this time of year were recorded throughout the region. Readings in the 30s were common during the week. Ice cover on the Great Lakes receded this week with the warmer temperatures, but Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Georgian Bay in Lake Huron remain frozen over.
Current Lake Levels:
All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 7 to 14 inches above last year’s levels. Lake Ontario is at the same level as a year ago. Lake Superior is at its long-term average. Michigan-Huron is 9 inches below its long-term average. Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are above their long-term averages by 8, 10, and 9 inches, respectively.
The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of February. Flow in the St. Clair River is also projected to be near average. Flows in the Detroit, Niagara, and St. Lawrence Rivers are all anticipated to be above average in February.
Warmer than normal temperatures are expected this weekend. Daily high temperatures in the 40s are possible in many locations. The next chance for inclement weather is forecasted to arrive Sunday night in the form of rain.
Forecasted Water Levels:
Lake Superior is forecasted to continue its seasonal decline and decrease 1 inch over the next month. Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are nearing the end of their seasonal decline and they should rise 1 inch by the first week of March. Note that ice conditions on Lake St. Clair may create rapid fluctuations in the levels over short periods. The water levels on Lakes Erie and Ontario are expected to remain reasonably constant during the next 30 days, as the period of normal decline nears its end.
Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.
$ 1 – 10 Alewife
$ 11 – 20 Yellow Perch
$ 21 – 50 Black Bass
Berg, Jeffrey W.
Fuka, John J.
Gold Coast Charter Service
$ 51 – 100 Coho Salmon
Yahara Fishing Club
$ 101 – 200 Walleye
Chagrin River Salmon Association
$ 201 – 500 Brown Trout
Northeast Wis. GL Sport Fishermen
Detroit Area Steelheaders
$ 501 – 1000 Steelhead
$ 1001 – 5000 Chinook Salmon
$ 5001 – UP Lake Trout
Current Total= $1,315.00
The public can take part in the development of this regulatory proposal by providing comments on the proposal. The final date for those comments is March 18, 2005.
After the comment period, the Regulations will be developed according to the federal regulatory development process, and there will be further opportunity for comment when they are pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I.
Send comments to:
Lead Free Fishing Consultations
351 St. Joseph Blvd.
Or by e-mail to: LeadFreeFishingConsultations@ec.gc.ca
On February 17, 2004, the Minister of the Environment announced his intention to develop regulations to prohibit the import, manufacture, and sale of lead sinkers and jigs used in fishing. This was done as follow-up to commitments made in the House of Commons in 2002 during debates on Votable Motion-414 to ban the use of lead sinkers and jigs, and as follow-up to the 2003 release of the Canadian Wildlife Service Occasional Paper 108 entitled Lead fishing sinkers and jigs in Canada: Review of their use patterns and toxic impacts on wildlife. Occasional Paper 108 reviews the issue of lead sinker toxicity for loons and other wildlife and provides a scientific basis for the proposed regulation. The purpose of this discussion paper, Fishing Lead Free: A Regulatory Proposal, is to provide a reference point for the consultations during the development of the regulations. It is recommended that Occasional Paper 108 be reviewed by those desiring a more thorough technical understanding of the issue.
Environment Canada claims lead is recognized globally as a toxic substance for both humans and animals. The Government of Canada recognizes the risks posed by lead exposure, and has a number of regulations and initiatives designed to protect humans and the environment against the adverse effects of lead.
Ongoing research and assessment have revealed that lead poisoning from sinker or jig ingestion is an issue of serious concern with regard to the protection of certain wildlife. Many water birds, in particular loons, can suffer from lead poisoning and death by ingesting a single small lead sinker or jig. Loons ingest lost sinkers mixed with gravel when they consume grit to aid digestion, or when they consume lost bait fish with hook, line, and sinker still attached. Other than recent outbreaks of disease (botulism) during their migration on the Great Lakes, ingestion of lead sinkers or jigs is often the leading cause of mortality for loons in eastern North America.
Lead poisoning typically accounts for 20-30% of adult loon mortality in habitats where recreational angling is prevalent. The actual numbers of dead animals found represents only a small percentage of the total number of lead sinker poisoning cases suspected to be occurring. This is because dead loons turned in to wildlife authorities are most often those found by chance, rather than through any systematic search-and-recovery process. Therefore, the total number of loons killed by lead fishing gear cannot be accurately estimated. However, the high proportion of total loon mortality that is due to lead sinker poisoning is an important indicator of the seriousness of the negative impacts lead fishing gear is having on loon populations.
It is estimated that approximately 500 tonnes of lead is deposited in freshwater lakes and rivers every year when anglers lose their small lead sinkers and jigs. Although to most people this amount appears large at the outset, with about 5 million recreational anglers in Canada, this translates into only 4-5 average sized sinkers lost per angler per year.
Since the early 1970s, sources of lead exposure in Canada have decreased substantially, mainly because the use of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint were phased out and the use of lead solder in food cans was virtually eliminated. As a result of reduced releases from these and other industrial sources, and because of continued use in fishing, lead in the form of sinkers and jigs now accounts for approximately 18% of unrecoverable lead deposited into our Canadian environment.
Therefore, a prohibition on the manufacture, import and sale of lead sinkers and jigs would lead to the reduction and eventual elimination of readily preventable killing of wildlife, particularly loons and other waterbirds, and reduce one of the major sources of lead loading on our environment.
Other jurisdictions have already enacted prohibitions on the use of lead fishing sinkers and jigs. In 1987, Britain banned the use of lead fishing sinkers weighing less than 28.3 grams because of widespread mortality of swans. In addition, the states of New Hampshire and Maine have banned the use of small lead sinkers and jigs as of 2000 and 2002 respectively, and New York prohibited the sale and use of lead fishing sinkers weighing less than 14.2 grams in 2004.
Canadian Action to Date
In response to this problem, in Canada, the Wildlife Area Regulations were amended in 1997 to prohibit possession of any lead sinker or jig weighing less than 50 grams while fishing in any National Wildlife Area (NWA) where sport fishing is allowed. In a parallel initiative in 1997, the National Parks Fishing Regulations were amended to prohibit the possession and use of lead sinkers or jigs while fishing in national parks.
Alternatives to Lead Sinkers and Jigs
Some stakeholders raised concerns during consultations for the NWA and National Parks regulations in 1997 regarding the extent to which lead fishing sinker and jig alternatives were then available. Since then, a wider variety of nontoxic fishing gear has been developed, and there has been a steady increase in the production of such products in the past few years, predominantly by smaller manufacturers. For a detailed listing please refer to our "Fish Lead Free" website.
While some of these alternatives are more expensive than
lead products, anglers will not face significant or prohibitive increases in the cost of recreational angling activities by switching to non-lead fishing gear. The average angler's total seasonal expenditure is about $500. The annual budgetary increase for the average angler as a result of switching to non-lead fishing gear is estimated to be less than 1 percent of their annual costs.
Based on available direct retail price comparisons of common types of fishing weights, it is estimated that the average angler spends up to an additional $2 annually to buy non-lead sinkers and jigs. If current prices of these non-lead sinkers seem high, consider that it is expected that their costs will drop once supply is greater and there is increased competition among manufacturers of non-toxic products. Increased demand for these alternative products should also provide new market opportunities for industry. It is expected that the development of the regulation, including the period of consultation, will provide ample opportunity to facilitate the increased production of non-lead fishing gear.
The Proposed Regulatory Approach
The government is proposing to prohibit the import, manufacture, and sale of lead sinkers and jigs used for recreational angling. It is not proposing to prohibit the use or possession of lead fishing gear. With a prohibition on the import, manufacture, and sale of the specified lead products, it is expected that the availability of these products will rapidly decrease, and that additional lead deposition into lakes and rivers from fishing gear that is harmful to waterbirds should effectively cease.
It should be noted that this approach is consistent with Canada's 1995 Toxic Substances Management Policy and with commitments called for under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Lead Risk Reduction program to promote the use of nontoxic alternatives to lead sinkers and jigs. This action also supports the objectives of the Migratory Birds Convention Act.
A federal government committee has examined the use of various legal instruments to control the introduction of lead sinkers and jigs into the environment. It was determined that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 has the most appropriate legal authority for any proposed regulatory action. Lead is listed as Item 7 on the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Act.
Based on information collected to date, removal of leaded fishing gear less than 2 cm in length in any direction, and less than 50 grams in weight would essentially eliminate the threat of lead poisoning from fishing gear to waterbirds in Canada. Therefore, consistent with existing regulations on fishing gear in Canada and elsewhere, the Government is proposing a prohibition on the import, manufacture, and sale of fishing sinkers and jigs which are less than 2 cm in length in any direction, weigh less than 50 grams, and contain more than 1% lead by weight. The proposed lead content limit of 1% would also apply to other tackle, such as spinners, lures, spoons, etc., that attach to fishing line and that because of their small size could be swallowed by waterbirds. This is consistent with the definitions of lead sinker and jig under the NWA and National Parks regulations.
There is always the potential that replacements for lead fishing weights could themselves be toxic. To ensure that safe alternatives are used, Environment Canada is proposing to work with stakeholders to develop guidelines under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act for determining alternative materials.
A similar approach was used when lead shot for most migratory game bird hunting was prohibited nationally in Canada in 1999. Toxicity Test Guidelines for Non-Toxic Shot for Hunting Migratory Birds were established to evaluate alternatives to lead shot for their toxicity. So far under this process, the following materials have been determined to be non-toxic: various combinations of iron, bismuth, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Rubber and ceramic have also been allowed. Zinc has been rejected as a non-toxic alternative to lead shot.
As indicated, it is anticipated that possession and use of existing fishing gear will not be included in the prohibition. However, the government will be encouraging the safe disposal of leaded gear by recommending that anglers bring lead fishing gear to their appropriate community hazardous-waste disposal sites.
Education and Information Programs
Information on the problem posed by lead fishing sinkers and jigs has been and will continue to be made available to anglers in cooperation with the provinces and the territories, and by other special means in cooperation with angler and conservation groups. The Canadian Wildlife Service, in cooperation with Parks Canada, created an information brochure (Fish Lead Free) aimed at increasing awareness and educating anglers about the hazards presented by lead sinkers and jigs, and about alternatives available to lead tackle. Distribution of this pamphlet began in May 1996, and over 30,000 pamphlets have been distributed. Environment Canada has also developed a "Fish Lead Free" website and has supported several lead sinker exchange programs. Despite this, voluntary measures to reduce the use of lead fishing gear have had a limited impact, and the majority of anglers continue to buy and use lead fishing gear.
Consultations and Timing of the Regulation
The public can take part in the development of this regulatory proposal by providing comments on the proposal, as outlined in this discussion paper. The final date for those comments is March 18, 2005.
After the comment period, the Regulations will be developed according to the federal regulatory development process, and there will be further opportunity for comment when they are pre-published in the Canada Gazette Part I.
Send comments to:
Lead Free Fishing Consultations
351 St. Joseph Blvd.
Or by e-mail to: LeadFreeFishingConsultations@ec.gc.ca
Wild turkey hunting, a sport that has doubled in hunter numbers since the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, is pumping billions of dollars into the hunting and shooting industry and the U.S. economy.
Unlike steel or textile industries, which are easily identified by large factories, the spring turkey hunting industry is comprised of widely scattered retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers. A 2003 NWTF study revealed that spring turkey hunters spent an estimated $1.8 billion on items including hunting licenses, clothing, firearms and other outdoor gear. As these dollars switched hands from retailers to suppliers to employees, expenditures stimulated a total of $4.4 billion in U.S. economic activity.
"The National Wild Turkey Federation's support for turkey hunting, along with the conservation efforts made in
conjunction with state wildlife agencies across the country, have played a significant role in developing the turkey hunting industry," said Dick Rosenlieb, NWTF vice president of sales and marketing. "The increasing interest in turkey hunting creates a greater demand for firearms, turkey hunting vests, calls and outdoor clothing."
Conservation groups, such as the NWTF, are also investing in the hunting and shooting industry by using outdoor products for fund-raising events. The NWTF's Hunting Heritage Super Fund banquets raise money for outreach and conservation projects by auctioning off outdoor gear, clothing and other items. Since 1985 the NWTF has spent:
Law Firm files Class Action Against Gander Mountain On Behalf Of Purchasers Of Gander Mountain stock
ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 31, -- Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield announces that a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota on January 28, 2005, on behalf of purchasers of Gander Mountain Company (``Gander Mountain'' or ``the Company'') (NasdaqNM:GMTN - News) common stock pursuant to the Company's Initial Public Offering (``IPO'') and on the open market during the period between April 20, 2004 and January 13, 2005 (the ``Class Period'').
The complaint charges Gander Mountain and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Securities Act of 1933. Gander Mountain is a specialty retailer offering an assortment of merchandise that caters to outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts, with a particular focus on hunting, fishing and camping. The complaint alleges that prior to going public (and even afterward) Gander Mountain was controlled by the Erickson family (including certain of the defendants named in the complaint) through their individual ownership in the Company as well as their holdings in the Company's major shareholders. Defendants knew that unless the Company went public, their shares in the Company would remain illiquid, and virtually worthless. Further, defendants were also keenly aware that unless the Company went public prior to revelations of lowered earnings expectations in November 2004 and January 2005, the Company would be prevented from going public altogether. This possibility would not only jeopardize defendants' ability to infuse value and liquidity into their shares via the IPO, but also would jeopardize the Company's ability to repay a $9.8 million debt owed to a company owned by the Erickson family.
On April 26, 2004, Gander Mountain closed its IPO of 6,583,750 shares of its common stock and converted existing preferred stock to common stock, raising in excess of $105 million. On November 9, 2004, the Company announced it had ``lowered its stock outlook for pretax income for fiscal 2004 to a range of $8 million to $13 million, compared with the company's prior guidance of $16 million to $21 million.'' Then, on January 14, 2005, the Company issued a press release lowering its outlook for pretax income for fiscal 2004 even further, ``to a range of $2.0 million to $4.0 million, compared
with the company's prior guidance of $8 million to $13 million.'' On this news, the Company's shares plunged to an all time low of $9.30 per share, more than a 60% drop from the Class Period high of $24.65 on June 7, 2004.
According to the complaint, the true facts, which were known to each of the defendants during the Class Period and concealed from the public, were as follows: (a) the Company's co-branded credit card program was faltering; (b) the value of the Company's inventory was overstated, requiring massive reductions and causing the Company's future margins to be negatively impacted as a result; (c) the Company's debt capacity was jeopardized and was inconsistent with the defendants' own growth plans; (d) the Company was actually experiencing average trends with respect to its sales; and (e) as a result of the above, defendants' own projections of positive comparable sales growth of 3% - 5% and pretax income of $8-$13 million were materially false and misleading.
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of Gander Mountain common stock pursuant to the Company's IPO and on the open market during the Class Period (the ``Class''). The plaintiff is represented by Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield, which has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.
Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield and its predecessor firm have devoted its practice to shareholder class actions and complex commercial litigation for more than thirty years and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for shareholders in class actions throughout the United States.
If you purchased or otherwise acquired any of the Gander Mountain stock described above, pursuant to the IPO or on the open market between April 20, 2004 and January 13, 2005 and sustained damages, you may, no later than March 29, 2005, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff. If you wish to discuss this case or have questions concerning these cases or your rights or interests, please contact: Garrett D. Blanchfield of Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield at 800-465-1592 or 651-287-2100, via facsimile at 651-287-2103 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield, visit our website at http://www.rwblawfirm.com
NRA will join large numbers of former OWAA members leaving to support stronger pro-hunting groups
(LAS VEGAS, NV) – The National Rifle Association has been forced to withdraw its support for the Outdoor Writers Association of America, due to OWAA leadership’s continuing loyalty to the Sierra Club, a longtime foe of the rights of hunters. NRA will join the growing number of OWAA Sustaining and Individual members who are transferring their memberships to groups more favorable to hunters and free expression.
“The NRA has long worked with others in support of game and habitat preservation,” said NRA President Kayne Robinson. “We are the primary organization that works to defend the rights of hunters and protect access to hunting lands. The NRA will continue its fights for the rights of all hunters in America.”
Robinson noted NRA’s efforts to curb government harassment of hunters, including bureaucratic red tape, civil rights invasions, unreasonable fees and restricted access to public lands. “Many of our most vulnerable hunters are being driven away by hostile government actions and the NRA will never stand idly by while our rights are being eroded.”
The Sierra Club, an OWAA member organization, embarked last year on a political campaign to defeat pro-gun and pro-hunting candidates by endorsing a slate of candidates in the 2004 elections that were opposed to hunting and firearms ownership. NRA opposition to the Sierra Club campaign was met with criticism by OWAA leaders.
“If the Sierra Club’s endorsed candidates had their way, private ownership of firearms would be banned,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “We were right to oppose their campaign and their candidates, and NRA’s four million members turned out on election day and voted for their rights and their freedom.”
Robinson pointed out the irony of OWAA criticism of the NRA in opposing the Sierra Club campaign. “This is an organization of journalists,” Robinson noted. “Yet, as soon as we criticized the Sierra Club, we were attacked by the OWAA board in a clear exhibition of bias against free speech for its own members.”
Robinson and LaPierre said that the NRA would join the large and growing number of former OWAA members who were transferring their memberships to groups more favorable to free expression and to the rights of hunters.
At a meeting held at the SHOT Show on Sat. Jan. 29, which was simulcast to the SCI convention in Reno, more than 150 writers nominated and voted to select a steering committee with the main purpose of organizing a new national outdoor writers group.
Several corporate entities and organizations have already stepped forward with offers of financial backing for start-up costs, etc.
Those who were chosen for the committee in alphabetical order are:
J. Wayne Fears
Betty Lou Fegely
Alternates should any of the above choose not to serve:
Laurie Lee Dovey
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Tickets are available for the fourth annual Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet, to be held on Saturday, February 19th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Those attending will join in honoring the lifetime achievements of conservationists Kenneth Fiske, W.D. Klimstra, Brent Manning and William Rutherford as they are inducted as the newest members of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. The event will also honor future conservationists, as ten scholarships are awarded to students planning careers in the field of conservation.
"Illinois is a better place to live, work and recreate, thanks to the contributions to our great outdoors made by the individuals being honored as new Hall of Fame members this year," said Joel Brunsvold, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and chairman of the board of directors of the Illinois Conservation Foundation. "The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet is a special event and we're delighted to be honoring these special people. I encourage everyone with a love of the outdoors to join us in Springfield on February 19th for this event."
Individual tickets for the banquet are $50 each, with sponsorship ticket packages also available. Proceeds will benefit the Illinois Conservation Foundation grant and youth conservation scholarship programs. Last year, the ICF grant program awarded $45,000 in grants to 30 organizations, groups and agencies for environmental, habitat and natural resource projects. The first ten recipients of the ICF Youth Conservation Scholarships will be recognized at the banquet.
The 2005 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees were selected from among dozens of individuals nominated by citizens and organizations throughout the state.
The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame will also present Director's
Awards. Recipients include:
Great Plains Drywall, the Corporation of the Year
Pheasants Forever, the Organization of the Year
Jeff Ketelsen as a Friend of the Foundation.
The ten winners of the Illinois Conservation Foundation Youth Conservation Scholarships to be introduced at the banquet are:
Caitlin Allen, Homer (Heritage High School in Broadlands)
Paras Bhayani, Homewood (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy)
Wesley Bryan, Louisville (Clay City High School)
Heather Busse, Farina (South Central High School)
J.C. Capel, White Heath (Mahomet-Seymour High School)
Nicole Evans, Hoffman Estates (Hoffman Estates High School)
Sarah Gillespie, Newton (Newton Community High School)
Drew Griffiths, Port Byron (Riverdale High School)
Emily Mahan, Baldwin (Red Bud High School)
Marcin Tomkowiak, Chicago (Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences)
The banquet will include a social hour, silent auction and raffle, dinner, Hall of Fame induction ceremony and a live auction. For tickets and sponsorship information or for more details on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet, contact Tracy Shafer, Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-5091, or visit the Illinois Conservation Foundation web site at www.ilcf.org .
The Illinois Conservation Foundation, an IRS 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established in 1995, has raised more than $20 million to support the programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information on the ICF, contact Executive Director Jess Hansen at 217/785-2003.
A story of a lake reincarnation
J.C. Murphey Lake at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area was born again on January 4 when the lake's water reached normal levels after a two-year renewal.
"For those old enough to remember other renovations of 'The Murph' in the mid-60s, late 70s and late 80s, this is an exciting time," said Mike Schoonveld, Willow Slough's assistant property manager. "Each time the lake has been drained and reflooded, fishing quickly escalated into a panfish and bass bonanza."
The shallow 1200-acre lake in northwest Indiana was built as a waterfowl marsh in the early 1950s. "With an average depth between 2 and 3 feet, and only a few flooded drainage channels adding anything approaching deep water, our biologists had little hope of 'Murph' ever becoming any great shakes as a fishing lake," said Schoonveld.
However, Schoonveld says Murphey Lake's fish thrived surprisingly well. Healthy populations of bass, crappie and big blue gills -- called Slough gills -- made the lake a favored fishing hole for many anglers.
Winter fish kills that usually curb the productivity of shallow reservoirs did not occur very often at Murphey Lake. But a few cold weather related fish eradications turned out to be fishery blessings. After the first winter fish kill in the early 1960s, the lake was drained, refilled and restocked. Several years after the lake's first rebirth, Schoonveld says fishing was much better than prior to the winterkill.
In the late 1970s another fish kill occurred. State biologists estimated more than 90 percent of the fish in the lake died from low oxygen levels caused by deep snow and an extended cover of ice. In 1979 the lake's second rebirth occurred, and in a few years the lake produced bass and bluegills at a rate surpassing almost any other lake in the Midwest.
In 1989, Murphey's lake bottom was exposed for the third time during a planned fishery rehabilitation. Rough fish were eliminated and the lake was refilled and restocked again. This "life" lasted until the winter of 2000, when an abundance of shad and early winter ice resulted in a partial fish kill.
"After the Y2K fish die-off, the lake's fish population was skewed toward gizzard shad, carp and rough fish, and fishing was very poor for the next couple years," said Schoonveld. During this time period, a survey of Murphey Lake's dam showed the 54 year-old structure was in need of rehabilitation. So, in spring 2002, the dam was opened and
the lake was drained again.
While construction crews rebuilt the dam, DNR crews worked over the lake basin with tractors, earth moving equipment and other gear. Most of the silted-in lakebed drainage channels were excavated to their original contours while new deep water areas were dug next to rebuilt islands.
Last September, DNR fisheries crews killed fish in drainage ditches feeding Murphey Lake to keep surviving carp or other rough fish from reinfecting the lake. Murphey Lake only needed rain to fill the basin and a new stock of game fish. Some fish restocked into the lake this winter were homegrown. Willow Slough's Salisbury and Rookery marshes, normally dry during the summer months, were kept flooded through the year and became on-the-property fish hatcheries.
Game fish brood stock was collected from Murphey Lake before draining and these fish were moved to the marshes. Many of the DNR's "real" fish hatcheries also produced thousands of fingerlings earmarked for "The Murph"too. By mid-November, enough water was impounded to allow stocking of hatchery fish and a fish-sorting structure was built at the Salisbury and Rookery marshes' drainage culvert.
More than a million hatchery largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish were planted in Murphey Lake. Rookery and Salisbury marshes added another 20,000 fish, mostly 6-to-10-inch bass with several hundred adult crappies and bluegills mixed in.
No ice fishing will be allowed on Murphey Lake this winter, but the lake will be open to anglers once the lake is free of ice this spring.
The DNR will not rent boats at Murphy Lake this summer because of the newborn lake's scarcity of keeper size fish. The newly stocked fish are expected to grow rapidly and Schoonveld predicts salvaged bass should be large enough by late summer to provide a challenge for catch and release anglers using light tackle.
"By next winter's ice fishing season, there should be enough growth on the bluegills to interest a few hard-water anglers. And Murphey Lake should be entering the prime of life again by next summer," said Schoonveld.
More Willow Slough FWA information: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/willow.htm
The most recognizable foreign invader in the Great Lakes region -- appeared in a dozen more Michigan lakes in 2004, according to Michigan Sea Grant. Now 200 state waterways are infested with the tiny mollusks, which wreak havoc on ecosystems by virtually eliminating planktons and other nutrients at the bottom of the food chain.
New critters were discovered in the following lakes: Tamarack
(Washtenaw County), Runyan
(Livingston), Marion (Charlevoix), Spider (Grand Traverse), Long
(Hillsdale), Indian (Kalamazoo), Gunn (Mason), and Corey, Fisher,
Palmer, Sturgeon and Wahbememe in St. Joseph County.
For information and a complete listing of infested lakes, visit www.miseagrant.umich.edu/ais/lakes.html
Season may close in one day if harvest cap is reached
OSHKOSH - Clear water and good ice conditions are expected to make the 2005 Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon spearing season look much like recent seasons: high harvests of lake sturgeon, record participation by spearers and closed in record time.
Wisconsin's 74th consecutive spearing season on Lake Winnebago opens at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 12, and could close at the end of the day if spearers reach any one of three harvest caps. A separate spearing season on the upriver lakes of Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan also opens at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 12, and will close at 12:30 p.m. that day.
The state Natural Resources Board in December 2004 approved emergency rules giving the Department of Natural Resources authority to close the Winnebago season at the end of opening day if spearers reach harvest caps. The caps of 500 juvenile females, 500 adult females or 2,000 males include fish from Lake Winnebago season as well as the upriver lakes season.
The emergency rule received strong support from the public and the Winnebago Citizens Sturgeon Advisory Committee at held meetings held to discuss the high harvest rates following the close of the 2004 season. "This 74th season promises some of the highest harvest rates and participation in the history of the fishery," says Ron Bruch, the Department of Natural Resources' senior sturgeon biologist and a fisheries supervisor in Oshkosh. "We want people to enjoy the tradition of this unique season," he says. "But we also want people to realize when they're sitting in their ice shacks that we're in a
transition year and that coming years will be different."
DNR fisheries staff working with the Winnebago Citizens Advisory Committee have done everything they can to allow maximum participation yet keep harvest of these slow growing, late maturing fish at safe levels by using harvest controls such as season length, spearing hours, minimum sizes and bags. "We've exhausted those options after 2005," Bruch says. "We have to look at limiting effort in some ways." DNR staff have been discussing possible options for the past year with members of the advisory committee, which will be discussed at public meetings after the 2005 season.
The emergency rule allowing for a one-day season on Lake Winnebago was passed to provide additional protection to the sturgeon stock following the record-setting 2004 season, Bruch says. Spearers harvested 509 adult females on opening day, surpassing the total allowable harvest for adult females of 425, but the permanent rules allowed the season to continue for another day, in which time an additional 175 adult females were harvested. All told, 259 more adult females were speared than the total harvest cap.
The permanent rules allow the season to run 16 consecutive days or until the end of spearing hours on the day after spearers reach 80 percent of any one of the harvest caps.
“We have made significant progress over the last 10-15 years in bringing the harvest rate of adult female sturgeon down to an acceptable level and we are starting to see more of these big fish,” Bruch says, noting the new record fish registered in 2004 – a 188-pound 79.5 inch adult female -- and the two 200-plus pound fish DNR crews captured and tagged during spawning assessments last April on the Wolf River.
Sturgeon spearing regulations for 2005 are the same as for 2004 with the exception of the possibility that the Lake Winnebago season may close at the end of opening day under emergency rules to prevent overharvest of the slow-growing, late maturing fish.
The season opens Saturday, Feb. 12 on both Lake Winnebago and the upriver lakes, although the upriver lakes season is for one day only.
Major spearing regulations are listed below, but a full description can be found in the 2005 Winnebago Pool Lakes Spearing regulations available at DNR service centers or found online at http://www.wisconsinfishing.org
may not exceed a total of 48 square feet.
USFWS Press Releases Sea Grant News
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