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PRESS RELEASE: Immediate

CONTACT:
Doug Meyenburg     763-843-1039

MLFAC Burned: DNR negotiates secret agreement with tribes

 

Elk River, Minnesota - August 24, 2017 - Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee (MLFAC) Co-Chair Dean Hanson today confronted DNR's Commissioner Landwehr in a letter about a recent DNR agreement signed with the tribes.

 

The agreement, "Consensus: Mille Lacs Fishery Harvest Plan, 2017-2020", was dated March 31, 2017. It was an agreement between the DNR, GLIFWC, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

 

Hanson's letter noted that the MLFAC was "shocked to say the least" adding that. "No one from the DNR had ever spoken to MLFAC about this agreement, either before or after its signing." Hanson wrote that DNR's secretive agreement "reinforces our position that more transparency is needed in connection with DNR and Band discussions and negotiations."

 

After his analysis of the agreement, Hanson recognized that the agreement resulted from an over-harvest of 6,800 pounds in 2016. However, the "harvest" was based on severely flawed estimates of hooking mortality, not an actual harvest, which still "may well be within the margin of error of all of these calculations" according to Hanson. "So why," Hanson asks, "given the insignificant overage and its minimal impact, did the DNR give up so much?"

 

Also problematic was the agreement's boost to treaty harvest quotas, setting harvestable surplus levels, "which could severely reduce our potential harvest in the future" according to Hanson's letter.

 

Further, the agreement locks anglers into and overage program, using "a hooking mortality based on the suspect hooking mortality study" Hanson wrote. "They locked us into an overage program which all comes due in 2020 and will probably significantly reduce our harvest potential in 2018-2020."

 

Proper Economic Resource Management (PERM) President Douglas Meyenburg said that making a secret agreement "shows DNR leadership has no regard for the MLFAC members whom they appoint. It ignores constituencies MLFAC represents and suggestions they have been making to improve co-management of Mille Lacs."

 

Meyenburg added that this agreement "leads one to believe all the meetings with Governor Dayton and DNR officials have been nothing more than dog-and-pony shows."

 

Meyenburg also found it "infuriating" Mille Lacs the co-management of walleye angling has been "hard-wired--for the next three years!"

 

He called it a "one-sided sweetheart deal of a payoff, extracted over a measly 6,800-pound overage."

 

Meyenburg said that DNR Commissioner Landwehr and Fisheries Chief Don Pereira "must resign."

 

He added that other parties to this agreement, tribal management and the taxpayer-funded GLIFWC, "should be exposed for breaking trust with the citizens of Minnesota, and violating the spirit of the Supreme Court's affirmation of 1837 Treaty harvest rights."

 

Other actions Meyenburg suggested included Governor Dayton calling for a priority investigation by the Office of the Legislative Auditor, and Legislative Committees looking back at all DNR-Tribal/GLIFWC meetings since Court ordered negotiations began.”

 

Hanson ended his letter writing, "we believe MLFAC, as well as the public deserves answers to these and many other questions." He asked for an open meeting with the DNR, MLFAC and anyone else who is interested within 2 weeks.


Proper Economic Resource Management (PERM)
PERM is a non-partisan conservation group dedicated to balanced solutions for natural resource management.

PERM believes Minnesota's natural resources should be managed for ALL citizens equally--not just for special interests or those with political access. PERM works to ensure equal protection of the law for all citizens' sustainable access to Minnesota's natural resources.

657 Main Street, Suite 102
Elk River, MN 55330
www.perm.org

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PERM (Proper Economic Resource Management)
Cinema Professional Building
657 Main Street #102
Elk River, MN 55330
US

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