Let's look at the bigger picture -- beyond the pulling and tugging over slots. And let's be honest. We're dealing with an extremist program here, a too-costly monster. We're looking at an ongoing public relations disaster for Mille Lacs, thousands of ticked-off anglers, major economic impacts, fisheries managers in a pickle, uncertain effects on the fish population, high costs to taxpayers and harm to the physical and mental health of our people. Themes of controversy and problems surround us all the time, no matter how good or bad the fishing.
This is no atmosphere for doing business, for managing resources, for fishing or for just plain living. (And remember that "conservation," responsible management," and "wise use" can go on without the specific treaty fisheries management program now in place.)
Resolution One -- State leadership must convince the court that change is necessary. The present system is too costly and must go!
(DNR reviews the past seven years of treaty fisheries management, evaluates the impacts, and in consultation with constituents recommends a plan that's more workable?)
Article V of the 1837 Treaty (mainly a land cession treaty) allows the Chippewa the privilege of fishing, hunting, and gathering on the lands they sold to the United States "at the pleasure of the president." In its 1999 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court suggested that a new presidential order could end the temporary tribal harvest privilege.
Resolution Two -- In line with the 1837 Treaty, and taking a cue from the U.S. Supreme Court, and recognizing the unacceptable costs of state adjustment to "treaty rights" as things now exist, we urge the Minnesota governor and the state legislature to seek a new presidential order to extinguish the 1837 tribal harvest privilege.
Taxpayers finance both sides of Mille Lacs treaty fisheries management -- DNR's efforts plus tribal fishing and tribal management. Surely, we have a right to know what goes on at the Technical Committee meetings that set Mille Lacs quotas, and at major state-tribal meetings that discuss Mille Lacs management.
Resolution Three -- There can be no more secret state/tribal Technical Committee meetings. At least two representatives (with two alternates in place), approved by the Input Group, must be allowed to attend Technical Committee meetings and major state-tribal management meetings relative to Mille Lacs.
Resolution Four There must be a full accounting of the costs (in dollars and time) incurred by state agencies, especially the DNR, in their years of accommodating treaty fishing and state-tribal co-management at Mille Lacs.
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