LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO STRENGTHEN|
COLUMBUS, OH -- Legislation to strengthen state regulation of commercial fishing in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie was introduced today in the Ohio General Assembly, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Senate Bill 241, sponsored by State Senator Robert Gardner of Madison, amends laws related to commercial fishing in Ohio and clarifies the authority of the chief of ODNR's Division of Wildlife to promulgate commercial fishing rules. The bill also establishes commercial fishing season dates and minimum length limits for certain commercial fish species.
"This legislation is the first step in our plan to strengthen commercial fishing rules in Ohio so that our biologists can better manage the Lake Erie fishery and protect this valuable resource for the use and enjoyment of all Ohioans," said ODNR Director Sam Speck.
The state's ability to regulate commercial fishing in Lake Erie was challenged in December 1999, when the Sixth District Court of Appeals nullified the Division of Wildlife's authority to promulgate commercial fishing rules -- limiting its rules to a five-year effective period. The court also disqualified three rules regulating commercial fishing for yellow perch: an 8 1/2-inch size minimum for commercially netted yellow perch; a commercial season opening date of May 1 for yellow perch; and the designation of several areas of Lake Erie as off-limits to perch netting.
Speck said that he expects Governor Taft will issue an emergency rule before
March 1, 2000 in order to restore several commercial fishing rules that had been disqualified by the court's decision.
There are currently 25 commercial fishing operators on Ohio waters of Lake Erie. These operators use either trap nets or seines to collect a variety of fish, including yellow perch, catfish, white bass, freshwater drum and carp.
For Further Information Contact:
Scott Zody, ODNR