LEGISLATION TO RESTORE OHIO'S COMMERCIAL|
FISHING RULES CLEARS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
COLUMBUS, OH -- Legislation to restore commercial fishing rules in Ohio was approved unanimously by the Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 94-0, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The emergency legislation, which was approved 32-0 in the Ohio Senate in February, is expected to be signed soon by Governor Bob Taft.
Once approved, the legislation will immediately restore and place into the Ohio Revised Code three administrative wildlife agency rules that regulate commercial fishing for yellow perch in Lake Erie. These rules, which are the subject of a court challenge now in the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court, include a starting date of May 1 for when yellow perch may be taken in commercial nets, an 81/2-inch minimum size length limit for all yellow perch taken commercially in Lake Erie, and certain restricted netting zones.
"This is a significant legislative action that restores our authority to regulate commercial fishing in Ohio," said Michael J. Budzik, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "It is necessary that we have this authority because it is our mission to conserve and improve the fish and wildlife resources and their habitats."
Senate Bill 241, introduced by Ohio State Senator Robert Gardner, also removes the language that commercial fishing rules expire after a period of five years. The legislation also provides for the continuation of existing commercial fishing rules until they are amended or rescinded.
"This means that our commercial fishing rules remain in effect until they are amended," Budzik said. "We do amend our fishing and hunting rules as the need dictates to achieve our management goals with regard to various species and this legislation reaffirms our agency's authority to promulgate such rules."