LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Recreational fishing industry continues to grow

Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the first update to Michigan’s commercial fishing statutes in more than 60 years. Thanks to the hard work of Representatives Pauline Wendzel, Jim Lilly and Jack O’Malley, Michigan has finally taken the necessary steps to modernize our antiquated regulations, protect game fish and establish best practices amongst the commercial fishing industry.

The Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association was proud to be a strong voice in this process and as their executive director, I can speak first-hand about how important this legislation will be to sportsmen in Michigan.

In the 1960s, decades of overharvesting, a lack of coherent regulations, and the impact of invasive species led to the collapse of the Great Lakes Fisheries. Since that collapse, Michigan’s fisheries have been managed with the monies collected from recreational anglers and hunters. Thanks to the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars from Michigan sportsmen, our recreational fishing industry has grown to more than $2.3 billion and supports thousands of jobs all across our great state.

Michigan has some of the most precious natural resources in the world, and thanks to this legislation, our thriving recreational fishing industry will continue to grow and support thousands of jobs and local communities. With these changes, our Great Lakes will be protected from commercial harvesters and our fisheries will be better managed so future generations can enjoy angling for decades to come.

The Michigan Salmon and Fishermen’s Association is proud to partner with conservation and sportsmen’s’ clubs alike, as well as the Department of Natural Resources and the Legislature. We look forward to swift action in the Senate and seeing this bipartisan and common-sense legislation signed into law.

Dennis Eade

Coloma