Week of June 20, 2005

Fishing the Great Lakes

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Fishing the Great Lakes

Fishing Lake Ontario for ---Muskie?

The date was August 22, 2004. Fred Lang of Mud Bay, Cape Vincent, N.Y. was  out fishing by himself using down riggers to troll. One was set at a  depth of 30 feet. The second one was set at a depth of 45 feet. Trolling a  silver and green jointed 4 1/2" Bomber Long A Minnow. He was using  20 lb test Line with no leader - like a typical salmon angler.

While fishing in the area just off Grenadier Island in Lake Ontario, much to his surprise a very large  muskie expressed a great deal of interest in his lure and it's  presentation. After a lengthy and exciting battle he was able to land the big  Muskie. It weighed an amazing 48 lbs and was 60" long. This was his trophy fish and he had it mounted.


World

Potential Line Class world record Walleye

A 15.4 oz 'eye caught on 6 lb test fishing for perch

Scott Ruiter of Muskegon, Michigan and a member of the Michigan Anglers Association, has a walleye record pending with the IGFA.  He landed his fish through the ice on Muskegon Lake this winter using 6 lb. test line.  The walleye weighed 15 lbs. 4 oz.

Using live minnows, Ruiter, landed a dozen perch from the Muskegon Lake . On his next hook set, he thought he had snagged a log. The log turned out to be a 15 lb 4 oz walleye which took 30 minutes to land and is now a pending record on 6-lb line class.

 


National

U.S. Proposes Allowing Fish Farming up to 200 Miles off Coasts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration, seeking to tap into one of the world's fastest-growing food industries, wants to allow fish farming up to 200 miles off the nation's coasts.  Citing pilot projects off New Hampshire, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the administration said last week it was sending a bill to Congress to establish regulations for fish farming, known as aquaculture.

 

Currently, fish farming in the United States focuses largely on freshwater fish such as catfish, though there also are some ocean farms raising shellfish like mussels, clams and oysters as well as shrimp and salmon. In countries from Canada to China to Scotland to Thailand, farming of saltwater species such as salmon and shrimp has become increasingly common, with much of the catch sold in the United States.

 

Fish farming has drawn criticism from environmentalists, however.

Gerald Leape, vice president of marine conservation at the National Environmental Trust, issued a statement saying the proposal was "riddled with problems." He said problems with fish farms include the discharge of solid waste, the use of pesticides, antibiotics and other potentially harmful chemicals and the escape of farmed fish into the marine environment.

 

Seafood demand is expected to increase rapidly and officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the United States has fallen behind other countries in farming fish. Currently the United States imports 70 % of the seafood eaten here and 40 percent is from overseas fish farms.

 

"Today's action will create jobs and revenues for coastal communities and U.S. businesses by allowing for the expansion of an underutilized industry," Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said in a statement.

 

Currently, the United States does not have a regulatory structure in place to allow aquaculture operations in federal marine waters.


Fishing Organization to Recognize & Reward Select Young Anglers

Tulsa, Okla.- Hooked On Fishing International announces a new program to recognize and reward young anglers each year. Selection will be based on how well applicants articulate their passion for fishing and how well they represent today's youth as role models for all America to see.   The initiative, The Kids All-American Fishing Team Scholarship and Ambassador Program, is open to youngsters ages 8 - 14 years.

 

"We realize that the kids who participate in our nearly 2,000 events like to fish, but what we want to do through this program is reward the ones who also stand out in their non-fishing contributions," said Daniel Johnson, HOFI president. "Especially contributions to their communities like helping with neighborhood food drives, running a lemonade stand to raise money for a local shelter, participating in a litter cleanup campaign, and so on."

 

"These kids are today's role models and tomorrow's leaders, and we want to reward them with scholarship funds and worthy recognition as a gesture of our appreciation," he said.   Johnson says six young anglers will be selected to the inaugural Kids All-American Fishing Team in 2005.

 

Through their example, they will serve as ambassadors for one full year. With the honor comes a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond for use in current or future education, a "pro angler-style" fishing shirt, a team medal, and gifts from corporate sponsors.

 

In fact, it is the Kids All-American Fishing Team sponsors - Fujifilm, Kellogg's, Nabisco, Nestle Waters, Oscar Mayer and Zebco - who have been the driving force behind the development of the latest HOFI program. "Each of these leading-brand companies is known for being good corporate citizens, for giving back to their communities and being mindful of today's youth," Johnson added. "We are thrilled that they have stepped forward in this effort."

Kids All-American Fishing Team members will be selected on their ability to communicate their joy of fishing and by the example they set within their communities. Selection is not based on fishing skills or abilities. Boys and girls, ages 8 - 14, can apply, but to be eligible they must be enrolled in a public, private or home school, be legal U.S. residents, and have signed permission from parents or legal guardians.

 

The application process requires that applicants list all extracurricular activities, community projects and organizations they are involved in, and that they provide two letters of recommendations submitted from people other than a parent or immediate guardian. Also required is a written essay of up to 250 words on the topic:

 

"Tell us about your best ever fishing trip. With whom did you fish and why was this trip so memorable?"

Every applicant will receive a free, colorful Kids All- American Fishing t-shirt featuring Sebastian T. Bobber, the "Official Spokesbobber for Youth Fishing."

 

Applications can be found online at www.kids-fishing.com , by clicking on the "KAAF Team Program" button at the top of the page. The forms can be downloaded and printed, or partially completed online.  Deadline for 2005 entry is August 12, 2005. The six young anglers named to the first-ever Kids All- America Fishing Team will be announced nationally in October 2005.

 

For more info:   www.kids-fishing.com   .

 

The derby program of Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing presented by Zebco is also sponsored by Berkley, DMF Bait Co., Eagle Claw, Fisher Boy, FishingWorld.com, FLW Outdoors, Fujifilm, Kellogg's, Laker Fishing, Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Stanley and Nestle Waters North America (marketers of the natural spring water brands of Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring, Zephyrhills and Nestle Pure Life).


Mad Cow Suspect Found in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC, June 13, 2005 (ENS) - A U.S. beef cow has tested positive for mad cow disease, and a sample of the animal's brain has been sent to an independent laboratory in the United Kingdom for confirmatory testing, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said late last week. The suspect animal was a downer cow, one unable to walk, so it never entered the food chain, Johanns said.

 

Only one case of mad cow disease has been confirmed in the United States, in a dairy cow in Washington State in December 2003. Since then, preliminary tests indicated the possibility of the disease in three cows, but further testing had ruled out any infection.

USDA officials decided last week to perform additional tests, and test results on one of those three cows turned up positive.

Formally called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, mad cow disease happens when proteins in the body bend into misfolded shapes called prions. Prions deposit plaque that kills brain cells, leaving spongy holes in the brain. The disease is always fatal. People can get a form of the disease, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, by eating contaminated meat. The disease has killed about 150 people worldwide, mostly in the United Kingdom, where there was an outbreak in the 1980s and '90s.

 

Since the first case of mad cow disease was found in December 2003 in Washington state, about 375,000 U.S. animals have been tested for the disease, usually those that appear sick.

 


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's No Shows

(What's wrong with this picture of ineptness and stupidity)

A Fairfax County, VA Police officer finds 11 aliens riding in a van when the officer stops the vehicle for making an illegal U-turn in Annandale.  Police arrest the driver in connection with the incident, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) officials say they released the aliens because they were not considered to be threats to society.

 

ICE officials order the group to show up for processing at the ICE agency in Northern Virginia.  None of the aliens showed up for the proceedings, and officials said they were not surprised by the nonappearance. Duh.

 

"That's the immigration process, the court process," said Manny Van Pelt, a spokesman for ICE. "It's based upon the aliens going into court when they're issued a notice to appear, and that's part of the reason why there are 465,000 fugitive

absconders."

 

The recent incidents highlight the challenges of immigration enforcement, as officials say they are forced to prioritize who will be immediately detained for immigration proceedings and possible deportation.  ICE rationalize their policy by adding "The main focus that we have here is we are working aggressively to protect national security here in the United States," Miss Fobbs said. "If they are people who it's mandatory to place in custody, we will place them in custody."

 

Van Pelt said about 30 % of illegal aliens who are released and ordered to appear for immigration proceedings fail to show up. Of those who do appear, about 85 % become fugitives if a judge orders them to be deported.

 

A new solution advanced on June 9 is to offer illegal immigrants airfare back to their homeland.


Horicon Wind-Farm Proposal Raises Concerns

WASHINGTON, DC - Five national conservation, recreation, and wildlife organizations have expressed concerns about a proposed 200-megawatt wind energy generating facility consisting of 133 wind turbines adjacent to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge near Brownsville, Wisconsin.

 

The organizations are examining the issue closely because Horicon National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 1.2 miles west of the project area boundary, and because the site is also within a few miles of the state-managed Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. Together, these two locations comprise a designated Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

 

The organizations were mainly concerned with the following issues:

►The proposal by Forward to increase the number of units and to relocate them from the original 4-miles setback from the national wildlife refuge to now within 1.2 miles;

►the increased risk of turbine strikes to a number of bird species (including sandhill cranes, waterfowl and other species);

►the potential impact on four cave-dwelling bat species at the

abandoned Neda Mine, 10 miles south of the project area;

►the fact that the study methodology used by Forward was less rigorous than in other wind farm studies.

 

The groups called for reverting back to the originally proposed four-mile setback, at a minimum, with a five-mile figure, cited by a 1999 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study, being even safer.

 

Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, said, "by changing their proposal mid-course, we question Forward Energy's commitment to ensuring the safety of wildlife that depend on Horicon refuge for their survival. This is no longer a local issue, it has become a test case for the region, for the industry, and perhaps for the country. This proposal must be rigorously examined for its impacts to the wildlife that inhabit the area."

 

In addition to submitting joint comments with the other national organizations, the NWRA has also called on its members around the country to express their views on the plan. Comments can be obtained from NWRA's website: http://www.refugenet.org/HoriconComments.html .


Regional

Great Lakes Folk Festival

Explore maritime traditions, from fly-fishing to knot tying, in downtown East Lansing, where the Great Lakes Folk Festival celebrates culture; illuminating the best traditional musicians, dancers and folk artists.  This event is brought to you free of charge by the Michigan State University Museum, August 12-14.  For more information visit www.greatlakesfolkfest.net.

 

The half-mile festival site in downtown East Lansing showcases the country's rich cultural heritage through performances and living museum exhibitions.   Activities

include a Taste of Traditions Food Court, with authentic

regional and ethnic food, Folk Arts Marketplace with hand-made goods, and Children's Folk Activities area with hands-on activities.  The festival is developed by MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, the state's center for research, documentation, preservation and sharing of folk arts and life.

 

Admission to the festival is free.  Festival hours are: Friday, Aug. 12, 6 - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 13, 12 noon - 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 14, 12 noon - 6 p.m.


Male Sex Pheromone Could Control Sea Lamprey Populations

Ann Arbor, Mich. —Exciting new discoveries about how the male sex pheromone facilitates reproduction in sea lampreys has led to speculation of how it might be used to suppress their reproduction in the Great Lakes, according to the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Mathematical models were used to estimate the amount of suppression that could be achieved using pheromone-baited traps, decoys, camouflage, and release of pheromone-enhanced sterile-males.

 

The models indicated that thousands of traps or hundreds of thousands of decoys would be required to suppress a

population of 100,000 animals. The model results were most encouraging for the use of pheromone-enhanced sterile males indicating that their release over three generations could reduce sea lamprey populations by 90% in Lakes Huron and Ontario, and by 98% in Lake Michigan.

 

The sea lamprey invaded the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie and Welland Canals. This non-native invader is extremely damaging to fish communities in the Great Lakes. For several decades the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has urged scientists to find ways of controlling this pest that do not pose a hazard to other forms of life.


DNR Encourages Anglers/Boaters to Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries reminded anglers and boaters to join the state's efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Michigan's waters.

 

"Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week is an opportunity for all citizens to increase their understanding of the harmful impacts aquatic invasive species have on Michigan's natural resources," said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. "The invasive species that lurk in our waters threaten Michigan's $4 billion annual commercial and recreational fishing industries, and billions of dollars will be spent at the local, state and federal level on future control and cleanup efforts."

 

Humphries said the DNR is working closely with the governor's office and the Department of Environmental Quality to stop the spread and introduction of new aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes.

 

"The important legislation signed into law by Governor Granholm this week will help us stem the tide of aquatic invasive species entering the Great Lakes," Humphries said, "but everyone who will be enjoying Michigan's waters this summer can do their part to prevent the spread of these harmful, non-native species that compete with native sport fish and damage habitat."

According to DNR fisheries managers the most notable aquatic invasive species which have had the greatest negative impacts on Michigan's ecosystem and quality of life include the zebra mussel, round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian Ruffe, Eurasian watermilfoil, curly leaf pond weed, rusty crayfish and spiny water flea.

 

The DNR urges anglers, boaters and other water recreationists to follow these guidelines to protect Michigan's aquatic environment:

 

*  Inspect your boat, trailers and boating equipment (anchors, centerboards, rollers, axels) and remove any plants and animals that are visible before leaving any water body.

*  Wash boats and trailers with a power washer whenever possible, and dry all equipment thoroughly.

*  Drain water from the motor, livewell, bilge and transom wells while on land before leaving any water body.

*  Empty your bait bucket on land before leaving the water body. Never release live bait into a water body, or release aquatic animals from one water body to another.

*  Learn to identify these organisms. Destroy any aquatic nuisance species when caught and dispose of it in the trash. If you suspect a new infestation of a foreign plant or animal, report it to the DNR or the Department of Environmental Quality.

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for June 17, 2005

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is currently 2 inches above June 17, 2004’s water level.  The remaining lakes are 3 to 5 inches below the levels of June 17, 2004.  The spring of 2004 was significantly wetter than the spring of 2005.  The dry conditions this spring are the main reason that water levels are lower than last year.   Looking ahead, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to rise an inch over the next month and be slightly lower this summer than the summer of 2004.   Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to fall up to 2 inches over the next month, while this summer’s levels are forecasted to be lower than 2004.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of June.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during June, while flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are both expected to be above average in June.

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 


Canada

Auditor General to Audit RCMP's Forensic Laboratory Services

The Office of the Auditor General has been asked by the Committee on Justice, Human Rights for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to investigate conflicting testimony and evidence presented the Committee on the effectiveness

and efficiency of the Forensic Laboratory Services of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and on the status of their DNA cases and service requests.

 

Auditor General Sheila Fraser has asked the audit team to report back to Parliament in the next 18 to 24 months.


General

Crossbow gains legality

MOUNT VERNON, Maine (AP) -- During the Middle Ages, a Roman Catholic edict labeled crossbows as "deadly and God-detested." Even today, archery purists cast a wary eye toward the weapons long associated with medieval warfare.  But times are changing.

   

In Maine, a bill allowing crossbow use during deer firearms season has worked its way through the legislative process and likely will be signed into law by Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat. Neighboring New Hampshire has a similar law, as do a growing number of other states.

 

"People are becoming educated about it," said Daniel James Hendricks of the American Crossbow Federation in Glenwood, Minn.

Many hunters think acceptance of the crossbow, a bow fixed crosswise on a wooden stock, is long overdue.  "It's a silly fool who thinks killing an animal with one tool is different than killing him with another," said Bill Smith of Mount Vernon.

   

The relative ease of handling an 8 lb crossbow adds to its growing popularity, said Smith, 60. Longtime bow hunters who are getting older find it much easier to hold and aim, without straining to keep pressure on the string.   The American Crossbow Federation says many states recognize crossbows as a legal hunting weapon, but under conditions that vary

widely. Some states allow them for big or small game during general hunting seasons, as well as special muzzleloader seasons and even for fishing.

 

At the other end of the scale are Maine and a few other states where the federation says crossbows are not recognized as a legal hunting weapon.  Hendricks said several states are considering joining more than a half-dozen that allow crossbows during archery season.

   

Maine state Rep. Stan Moody, the bill's Democratic sponsor, first submitted a broadly worded measure that would have allowed crossbow use to hunt any wild animal or wild bird, even during archery season.   But he soon clashed with bow hunters, who saw potential competition. Mike Rovella of the Maine Bowhunters Association said the original bill would have more than tripled the ranks of archers during bow season, compromising landowner relations with hunters and prompting heavy deer kills, Rovella warned.

   

"It's really not a bow. It is shot from the shoulder with a trigger and with a laser sight," Rovella said. But Moody, a registered guide who has a bowhunting license, contends that the much-maligned crossbow is ballistically the same weapon as a compound bow. The main difference, he said, is "it is more accurate."


 

Lake Erie

10 Billion Round Gobies In Western Lake Erie

Ann Arbor, Mich. —Scientists have estimated the population of round gobies in western Lake Erie to number 10 billion in 2002. Using a remotely-operated underwater video system (ROV), a team of scientists from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Windsor enumerated round gobies in a variety of natural habitats between June and October to come up with the estimate.

 

The Journal of Great Lakes Research reports Round gobies are an invasive fish that arrived in the Great Lakes basin in 1990 and quickly spread to all five of the Great Lakes and many connecting waterways. These fish compete with native fishes for food and habitat, consume eggs and young of native fishes, and have altered energy pathways (feeding relationships) including the movement of contaminants.

 

A number of research studies have been undertaken or are

presently underway to evaluate some of these impacts, but to date scientists have been challenged to estimate the actual number of round gobies because of the bottom dwelling nature of these fish, including their preference of rocky areas that are hard to sample.

 

To address this challenge, these scientists combined the use of an ROV with substrate maps to describe habitat preference and seasonal movements of different ages of round gobies which, when combined, provide a comprehensive estimate of the total number of round gobies in western Lake Erie.

 

Description of this technique for estimating the abundance of round gobies in natural habitats will enable scientists in western Lake Erie and elsewhere to provide better predictions of the impact of round goby populations on native fish and other biota.


Indictments filed against Lake Erie Commercials

Fourteen individuals and five businesses charged with racketeering, money laundering

COLUMBUS, OH - Felony indictments were filed last week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against 14 individuals and five businesses associated with Ohio’s commercial fishing industry, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife.

 

The licensed commercial fishermen and fish wholesale businesses involved allegedly took more yellow perch from Lake Erie than their quotas allowed, filed false reports, and sold unreported yellow perch. Each defendant could face up to 10 years in prison, plus a $25,000 fine if convicted of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity - a first-degree felony and the most serious of the charges involved.

 

Since 1996, Lake Erie’s yellow perch have been managed through a quota system. Quotas are set in order to balance Ohio’s share of the lake’s yellow perch harvest between sport anglers and commercial fishermen. Commercial fishermen are required to keep accurate and legible catch reports and to stay within their licensed yellow perch quota in a given year. Safe harvest levels of yellow perch are determined by fisheries biologists to maintain healthy fish populations and provide quality fishing opportunities on Lake Erie.

 

“Yellow perch are valued public resources which are highly sought after by both commercial and sport fisherman,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife. “We are committed to maintaining a healthy fishery on Lake Erie for the benefit of all Ohioans. This type of alleged activity would have a negative impact on the lake’s yellow perch population.”

 

Lake Erie’s yellow perch fishery is cooperatively managed by five agencies: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

 

A list of individuals and businesses charged follows:

Richard Stinson, 41, Castalia - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Orville Stinson, 66, of Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Lori Colvin, 41, Oak Harbor - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Billy Mitchell, 48, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Michael Maloney, 25, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with  records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and

possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Mark Mitchell, 31, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Joseph Smith, 36, Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Elizabeth Smith, 43, Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Roy Greene, 45, Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), and tampering with records (1 count)

 

Darlene Ernande, 44, Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Vito Ernande, 47, Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Gary Rowan, 54, Painsville - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Dale Trent Jr., 43, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Craig Carr, 39, Oak Harbor - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Port Clinton Fish, Inc, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Smith Fisheries, Inc., Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Westwater Fisheries, Inc., Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

State Fish, Inc., Cleveland - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Lake Fish, Inc., Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 


Illinois

Shedd to increase efforts at Great Lakes conservation

CHICAGO(AP) - Chicago's Shedd Aquarium announced last week it will intensify its efforts to draw attention to the value and vulnerability of the Great Lakes ecosystem.   Shedd officials say the aquarium will partner with Biodiversity Project to launch an awareness campaign in Chicago called "Great Lakes Forever."

 

Aquarium president Ted Beattie says Shedd's exhibits, public programs and special events will increasingly focus on Lake

Michigan and the other Great Lakes. He says the intent is to get people thinking and talking about the five bodies of water that provides water, recreation and food to 37 (m) million people.

 

Beattie says the aquarium plans to install an invasive species exhibit later this year to educate visitors about the damage to the Great Lakes invasive species cause, including the depletion and extinction of native fish.


Bullfrog Season Opened June 15th

Many Strategies Available to Nab Frogs

Springfield-June 15th marks the beginning of season for those who want to hunt bullfrogs in Illinois.  The season continues through August 31st, with a limit of up to eight bullfrogs each day, 16 total in possession. No size limit applies.

 

In Illinois, it is legal to capture bullfrogs using a gig, bow and arrow, net, or by hand.  It is prohibited to use firearms or any commercial fishing device.  Frogs generally grow to a maximum of one foot in size.  Most hunters seek the frogs for  

their meat, especially of the legs and back.

 

"The frog population in Illinois seems to be thriving," said Steve Pallo, IDNR fisheries expert. "They especially thrive in small farm ponds, and the number of created ponds is continuously increasing in Illinois."

 

It is only legal to hunt the bullfrog in Illinois, a species that thrives in backwaters, wetlands, and ponds with abundant plant growth.   The bullfrog is known for the deep rumbling croaking sound it makes, which is commonly described as sounding like the words "jug-of-rum."


Conservation Officers Nab Suspected Thieves

Manhunt on Kankakee River Culminates in Arrests

A joint effort of county, state and Conservation Police Officers, joined together in a massive manhunt resulting in the arrests of two men and one woman who are suspected of committing a series of thefts of boats on the Kankakee River. They have also been linked to the theft of a pick-up truck in Sangamon County. 

 

"This was very dangerous and could have turned out very ugly," said Conservation Police Sergeant Mark Simon. " These suspects were heavily armed. Because of this excellent interagency cooperation, the suspects are behind bars." 

A citizen made the initial report of the suspects to police alerting authorities to a theft of a boat in progress on the Kankakee River.  As police pursuit ensued, the fleeing suspects allegedly stole and abandoned two more boats, before seeking to elude officers on Bardwell Island.

 

Officers relied on an airboat, canine and aircraft for assistance. The suspects are jailed in Will County on a variety of preliminary felony charges.  Stolen property valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars has been recovered, but has incurred damage.

 


Indiana

Spring survey reveals diverse and healthy fishery on Summit Lake

Indiana Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Chip Long reports that Summit Lake should satisfy bass, bluegill, walleye and yellow perch anglers.  "Summit Lake offers anglers a wide variety of fish to target all year," said  Long. 

 

DNR biologists surveyed the 800-acre lake near New Castle during May 2005.  Bluegill were the most abundant species collected during the survey.  The average bluefill length was 5.1 inches and the largest bluegill collected was 8.8 inches long.  Almost 70 percent of the bluegill collected were longer than 6 inches.

 

"Bluegill fishing at Summit Lake has become increasingly popular and nice sized bluegills are there for the taking," said Long.  "Our 2003 angler creel survey revealed that the average-size bluegill kept by anglers was

about 8 inches long."

Largemouth bass up to 19 inches long were found.  The majority of largemouth bass collected were between 12 and 14 inches long.  Many of the smaller fish should reach the 14-inch minimum keeper size limit within a year.

 

Walleye have been stocked annually at Summit Lake since 1999.  The average length of walleye collected in 2005 was 14.2 inches and the two largest walleye collected were 23 inches long.  Overall, 46 percent of the walleye sampled were larger than the 14-inch minimum length keeper size limit.

 

Catfish length ranged between 9 and 27 inches.  Several catfish weighed more than 8 pounds.  Since 2003, over 12,000 channel catfish have been stocked at Summit Lake. Plentiful keeper-size crappie, redear sunfish, yellow perch, and white bass were also recorded during the 2005 fishery survey. 

 

Summit Lake is located in Summit Lake State Park, 4 miles north of New Castle off State Route 36.


Anglers asked for help in Wabash River survey of catfish and sturgeon

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is conducting a 2-year survey of tagged catfish and sturgeon in the Wabash River. DNR employees, or creel clerks, will be counting and interviewing anglers and commercial fisherman along the river to gather information on boating, fishing and life histories of catfish and sturgeon.

 

In April, biologists began the catfish-tagging project to run simultaneously with a shovelnose sturgeon project already underway. The concurrent surveys will enable biologists to fill in gaps of information otherwise impossible to obtain.  This information will help determine the recreational use and most sought species of the Wabash River, allowing biologists to better manage the river.  The project will also help biologists estimate the economic value of the river, in the event of a major fish kill.

 

Creel clerks began interviewing from the mouth of the Wabash up to Covington in April and will continue through the end of October 2005. Counts and interviews will resume in 2006,

covering Terre Haute to Logansport.   This effort covers 357 miles of the Wabash and is the first recreational survey of the river from Logansport downstream. The catfish project is a joint effort by the Indiana and Illinois DNR's, Purdue University and Southern Illinois University. The shovelnose sturgeon survey is a cooperative effort by the Indiana and Illinois DNR's and Purdue University.

 

Anglers and commercial fisherman along the Wabash River are asked to help in the survey by participating in the interviews when approached by the creel clerks. However, anglers will need to turn in the tags themselves.

 

Tags for fish that are kept should be mailed to Big Rivers Fisheries Program, 2310 E St. Rd 364, Winslow, IN 47598.   If the fish is returned to the river, the tag should be left on the fish and the tag number recorded. Anglers may mail the tag number to the same address or call 812-789-2724 and ask for Tom or Kirk.

 

For more information, contact Bob Ball or Kevin Hoffman at 812-279-1215.


Michigan

Reduction in Coho plants among DNR budget cuts

LANSING -- Michigan's fisheries managers plan to reduce Coho salmon plants in Lake Michigan by a million smolts each of the next two years as part of an effort to reduce $4 million from its budget.

 

Mlive.com reports the reductions are part of an effort to save $8.1 million overall in the Department of Natural Resources' Game and Fish Budget, which is facing a massive shortfall by its 2007 fiscal year.

 

Coho salmon production will be reduced to a level that the DNR will still be able to maintain its brood stock in Lake Michigan and continue stocking Lake Superior, fisheries chief Kelley Smith said. But it could have a big impact on Lake Michigan fisheries, especially in southern Lake Michigan, where there is a significant spring Coho fishery.

The DNR, which has been planting about 1.7 million Coho in Lake Michigan annually, plans to cut the stocking by 60%. The cut will reduce plants to around 700,000.

 

Lake Michigan Coho plants will occur only at the Platte River, where the DNR collects eggs for the hatchery. The most significant cuts will come from the St. Joe River, which gets 150,000 smolts; the Grand River, which gets 250,000; and the Manistee River, which received 400,000 last year.

 

Smith said he realizes this will not be a popular decision, but "we don't have the money and we have to make cuts." "Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin anglers are not going to be happy," Smith said.  Reducing Coho stocking will save $150,000 a year, Smith said. The DNR could return to former stocking levels if the budget improves, he added.


Cedar River State Harbor Offers Biodiesel Fuel to Boaters

The Cedar River State Harbor will be the first public harbor in Michigan to offer boaters the option of purchasing environmentally-friendly biodiesel marine fuel, state recreation officials announced today.

 

Boaters have the option of purchasing unleaded gasoline, diesel fuel or a 5-percent blend (B5) of biodiesel fuel. An intensive education campaign, coordinated by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee and the harbor, will help educate boaters about the benefits of using biodiesel fuels.

 

The DNR Parks and Recreation Division's Green Initiatives Committee is monitoring the use of a 20 percent bio-blend diesel fuel (B20) in park equipment and also will measure

boaters' demand for the alternative fuel. The Green Initiatives Committee researches, recommends and tests environmentally-friendly products and management practices in state park and recreation facilities.

 

The new harbor, dedicated by the Michigan State Waterways Commission, adds another harbor of refuge for boaters and represents the newest amenities at state harbors.

 

Currently used along Eastern and Western seaboards, marine biodiesel fuel has not been available at marinas on the Great Lakes, except for a limited trial of marine biodiesel in the Chicago area in the late 1990s. Cope said she hopes that boaters will lead the demand for more locations to offer biodiesel blends and increase the use of this cleaner, safer, American-grown fuel.


DNR Encourages Anglers/Boaters to Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries reminded anglers and boaters to join the state's efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Michigan's waters.

 

"Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week is an opportunity for all citizens to increase their understanding of the harmful impacts aquatic invasive species have on Michigan's natural resources," said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. "The invasive species that lurk in our waters threaten Michigan's $4 billion annual commercial and recreational fishing industries, and billions of dollars will be spent at the local, state and federal level on future control and cleanup efforts."

 

Humphries said the DNR is working closely with the governor's office and the Department of Environmental Quality to stop the spread and introduction of new aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes.

 

"The important legislation signed into law by Governor Granholm this week will help us stem the tide of aquatic invasive species entering the Great Lakes," Humphries said, "but everyone who will be enjoying Michigan's waters this summer can do their part to prevent the spread of these harmful, non-native species that compete with native sport fish and damage habitat."

According to DNR fisheries managers the most notable aquatic invasive species which have had the greatest negative impacts on Michigan's ecosystem and quality of life include the zebra mussel, round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian Ruffe, Eurasian watermilfoil, curly leaf pond weed, rusty crayfish and spiny water flea.

 

The DNR urges anglers, boaters and other water recreationists to follow these guidelines to protect Michigan's aquatic environment:

 

*  Inspect your boat, trailers and boating equipment (anchors, centerboards, rollers, axels) and remove any plants and animals that are visible before leaving any water body.

*  Wash boats and trailers with a power washer whenever possible, and dry all equipment thoroughly.

*  Drain water from the motor, livewell, bilge and transom wells while on land before leaving any water body.

*  Empty your bait bucket on land before leaving the water body. Never release live bait into a water body, or release aquatic animals from one water body to another.

*  Learn to identify these organisms. Destroy any aquatic nuisance species when caught and dispose of it in the trash. If you suspect a new infestation of a foreign plant or animal, report it to the DNR or the Department of Environmental Quality.

 


Work begins on revival of River Rouge shoreline

Removal of concrete, pilings where possible will help boost area aesthetics, fishing near Belanger Park.

Detroit River wildlife refuge director John Hartig is working with U.S. Steel executives on clearing a section of the Detroit River shoreline.

 

About 3,300 feet of Detroit River shoreline adjacent to Belanger Park in River Rouge will be cleared of rubble and restored to a natural condition suitable for wildlife and fish habitat. The property to be restored is owned by U.S. Steel and DTE Energy, and is inside the 19-mile Detroit International Wildlife Refuge. The shoreline rehabilitation will result in better fishing at Belanger Park, which is River Rouge's only

public waterfront.

 

Ultimately, restoring the shore will mean better fishing opportunities at Belanger Park, which is River Rouge's only public waterfront. The area lies within the 19-mile Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, about eight miles upstream from Humbug Marsh and the last mile of undeveloped shoreline on the U.S. mainland.

 

The project will create a number of ecosystems that will benefit water and land wildlife, including wetlands that provide spawning and fingerling habitat, shoreline shade-cover and water cooling, and an upland buffer to provide water quality protection.


Elk Hunt Application Period Began June 15

The Michigan DNR reminds hunters that they may apply for a 2005 elk hunting license now through July 15.

 

The 2005 elk hunting seasons include the traditional Dec. 6-13 hunt, which is on both public and private lands in several northern Michigan counties, and a new hunt period during Aug. 27-31 and Sept. 9-12. This early hunt is for elk outside the traditional elk range. A third hunting period may be considered after the December hunt.

 

Only Michigan residents are eligible to apply. Youth age 13 may apply as long as they turn 14 prior to Aug. 27. Hunters may apply online at www.michigan.gov/dnr , at any authorized

license agent or at a DNR Operations Service Center. A nonrefundable $4 fee must be paid at the time of application.

 

A new weighted random lottery will be instituted for 2005. This lottery system will provide applicants who applied for an elk license in the past two years to have one additional chance for each year they applied.

 

Applicants may call (517) 373-3904 prior to July 15 for assistance with their elk application. Drawing results will be posted July 27 at 10 a.m. EDT on the DNR Web site. See the 2005 Michigan Elk Hunting Guide for more details about the application process and the weighted lottery.


New York

Governor scales back casino plans in Mohawk settlement

ALBANY, N.Y.(AP) -- Gov. George Pataki, who had proposed as many as five casinos for the Catskills in his attempts to settle long-standing land claims with Indian tribes, is now planning just one.

 

"At this point we're only looking at one casino," Pataki spokesman Kevin Quinn said. "We're continuing negotiations on the other settlements."

 

Pataki introduced a bill last week to settle the Akwesasne Mohawks' 23-year-old land claim against the state. The agreement with the Mohawks entitles them to build a casino in Sullivan County, provides them with more than $100 million and the right to nearly double the size of their reservation in northern New York.

 

Last year, Pataki also reached proposed land-claim settlements with the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, the Oneida Tribe of

Indians of Wisconsin and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.

 

Pataki withdrew those deals, which would have allowed the tribes to operate casinos in the Catskills, in April after a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on tribes expanding their sovereign territory made it necessary to "review and reevaluate" the proposals, he said. The decision to rework the agreements did not include the Mohawks because their land claim is based on different treaties than those involving the other tribes.

 

The Mohawk settlement, signed by Pataki and tribal leaders in February, requires the approval of the state Legislature and Congress.

 

In 2001, the state Legislature authorized three casinos for the formerly prosperous resort region, hoping they would produce millions of dollars in revenue for state and local governments to help fund education, health care, infrastructure needs and to help keep taxes down.


Ohio

Indictments filed against Lake Erie Commercials

Fourteen individuals and five businesses charged with racketeering, money laundering

COLUMBUS, OH - Felony indictments were filed last week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against 14 individuals and five businesses associated with Ohio’s commercial fishing industry, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife.

 

The licensed commercial fishermen and fish wholesale businesses involved allegedly took more yellow perch from Lake Erie than their quotas allowed, filed false reports, and sold unreported yellow perch. Each defendant could face up to 10 years in prison, plus a $25,000 fine if convicted of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity - a first-degree felony and the most serious of the charges involved.

 

Since 1996, Lake Erie’s yellow perch have been managed through a quota system. Quotas are set in order to balance Ohio’s share of the lake’s yellow perch harvest between sport anglers and commercial fishermen. Commercial fishermen are required to keep accurate and legible catch reports and to stay within their licensed yellow perch quota in a given year. Safe harvest levels of yellow perch are determined by fisheries biologists to maintain healthy fish populations and provide quality fishing opportunities on Lake Erie.

 

“Yellow perch are valued public resources which are highly sought after by both commercial and sport fisherman,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife. “We are committed to maintaining a healthy fishery on Lake Erie for the benefit of all Ohioans. This type of alleged activity would have a negative impact on the lake’s yellow perch population.”

 

Lake Erie’s yellow perch fishery is cooperatively managed by five agencies: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

 

A list of individuals and businesses charged follows:

Richard Stinson, 41, Castalia - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Orville Stinson, 66, of Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Lori Colvin, 41, Oak Harbor - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Billy Mitchell, 48, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Michael Maloney, 25, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with  records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and

possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Mark Mitchell, 31, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Joseph Smith, 36, Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Elizabeth Smith, 43, Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Roy Greene, 45, Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), and tampering with records (1 count)

 

Darlene Ernande, 44, Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Vito Ernande, 47, Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Gary Rowan, 54, Painsville - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Dale Trent Jr., 43, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Craig Carr, 39, Oak Harbor - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Port Clinton Fish, Inc, Port Clinton - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (2 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering (2 counts), tampering with records (2 counts), receiving stolen property, (2 counts), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Smith Fisheries, Inc., Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), theft (1 count), forgery (1 count), uttering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and possessing criminal tools (1 count)

 

Westwater Fisheries, Inc., Vermillion - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

State Fish, Inc., Cleveland - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 

Lake Fish, Inc., Sandusky - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (1 count), money laundering (1 count), tampering with records (1 count), and receiving stolen property (1 count)

 


Wisconsin

State managers capture albino musky during population survey

ONEIDA COUNTY -- For years, anglers have told wild tales of strange white muskellunge seen while fishing on some of the deeper lakes in the area. These ghostly fish reportedly grow to gigantic proportions and are much more elusive than a regular fish.   Few are seen and none are caught -- until now.

 

This spring, a DNR fisheries crew caught a white musky in their fyke nets during population surveys. The muskie's skin was very white but had a slight greenish tint and was 32.7" long and 7.9 lbs, reports John Kubisiak, DNR fish biologist for Oneida County. “The catch has been generating quite a buzz,” Kubisiak says.

 

John Lyons, a longtime DNR fisheries researcher who is

updating the Fishes of Wisconsin, the fisheries reference work by the late George Becker, considers the Oneida County fish an albino, although he notes that the musky has a small amount of pigment in the eyes and around the head.

 

Lyons says the Oneida County musky is “pretty close” to the fully albino end of the spectrum. “I’ve never seen nor heard of an albino musky, so it’s an unusual fish to say the least! But albinism is a rare but normal occurrence and is seen fairly regularly in white-tailed deer and squirrels.”

 

DNR crews, after measuring and weighing the fish and made a fin clip for future identification, released the musky. So the ghost fish will continue to haunt Oneida County waters and musky hunters, and the legend to grow.


Sturgeon restoration begins in the Manitowoc River system:

DNR stocks 100 yearling sturgeon as part of Lake Michigan effort

MANITOWOC, Wis. – One hundred sturgeon yearlings were stocked in the Manitowoc River as part of an ongoing effort to restore the lake sturgeon to Lake Michigan. This specific stocking is one step in a long term plan to restore lake sturgeon to the Manitowoc River system.

 

Steve Hogler is the Senior Fish Biologist who manages the fisheries of the lakeshore area which includes the Manitowoc River System. He oversaw the stocking effort. Steve Fajfer is the Supervisor of the DNR’s Wild Rose Fish Hatchery. He raised the sturgeon yearlings and delivered them and assisted with the stocking. The DNR’s Wild Rose Hatchery also produces salmon and trout for Lake Michigan and sturgeon for restoration efforts throughout Wisconsin.

 

The yearlings are offspring from eggs collected in 2004 from

adult sturgeon spawning in the Wolf River. The eggs that were collected were taken to the Wild Rose Hatchery where they were hatched and reared for the past 12 months. From the eggs that were collected over a year ago, 100 sturgeon yearlings averaging 10.5” in length have grown and are now ready to be stocked in the Manitowoc River system.

 

The sturgeon were trucked from Wild Rose where they were released into the Manitowoc River on June 1,  just below Clarks Mills Dam and in Branch River at County Highway T.

 

The successful restoration of lake sturgeon will stretch over several decades. Lake sturgeon are a native species that were once common in Lake Michigan and its tributary rivers. Since the late 1800’s, dams, water pollution and overharvest of sturgeon has resulted in a major decline in the abundance of lake sturgeon in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan as well as in the waters of neighboring states. Last year, yearling sturgeon were stocked in the Milwaukee River for the first time.


Ontario

Law passes allowing fast fines for polluters

Firms can be charged up to $100,000 a day

Companies that pollute the environment - even through accidental spills - can be fined on the spot under a new provincial law. 

 

Bill 133, which passed yesterday, gives government inspectors the power to fine companies up to $100,000 a day, and individual employees $20,000 a day, for toxic spills.  It will likely be next summer before all the necessary regulations are in place and fines can actually be handed out, but the law dubbed the "spills bill" is about more than just penalizing

polluters.

 

It also requires companies to have spill prevention plans in place and the fine money will go into a special fund to cover the costs of cleaning up toxic spills. Instead of taxpayers in those communities paying (for the cleanup) it will be the companies.

 

When the bill was introduced last fall it encountered a furious lobby from petroleum, chemical, mining, plastics, auto, cement and steel industries, which banded together under the title of the Coalition for Sustainable Environment.


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