Week of November 15 , 2004

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World

Our homes are still our castles - but not so any more in Britain

By Joyce Lee Malcolm

If someone breaks into your home in the middle of the night you can presume he is not there to read the gas meter. But current British law insists that he have the freedom of the premises. When, last Christmas, thousands of Radio 4's Today listeners called for legislation authorising them to protect their homes by any means necessary, the proposal was immediately denounced as a "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable, blood-stained piece of legislation". Until recently that "unworkable, blood-stained" legislation was the law of the land. There was no need to retreat from your home, or from any room within it. An Englishman's home was his refuge, and, indeed, his castle.

 

But no more. Rather than permitting people to protect themselves, the authorities' response to the recent series of brutal attacks on home-owners has been to advise people to get more locks and, in case of a break-in, retreat to a secure room - presumably the bathroom - to call the police. They are not to keep any weapon for protection or approach the intruder. Someone might get hurt. If that someone is the intruder the resident will be sued by the burglar and vigorously prosecuted by the state. I heartily applaud The Sunday Telegraph's campaign to end this lamentable state of affairs.

 

Happily for us Americans, English common law prevails in the US; our homes are still our castles. Californians, for example, are entitled to use force to protect themselves and their property. Legislation in Oklahoma which allowed the home-owner to use force no matter how slight the threat has reduced burglary by nearly half since it was passed 15 years ago. What British police condemn as "vigilante" behaviour has produced an American burglary rate less than half the English rate. And, while 53 per cent of English burglaries occur when someone is at home, only 13 per cent do in America, where burglars admit to fearing armed home-owners more than the police. Violent crime in the US is at a 30-year low.

 

Whatever became of the Englishman's castle? He did not lose the right and means to protect himself at once. It was teased away over the course of some 80 years by governments claiming to be fighting crime, but actually fearful of revolution and disorder. When the policy began, crime was rare. For almost 500 years, until 1954, England and Wales enjoyed a declining rate of violent crime. In the last years of the 19th century, when there were no restrictions on guns, there was just one handgun homicide a year in a population of 30 million people. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world.

 

The practical removal of the right to self defence began with Britain's 1920 Firearms Act, the first serious limitation on privately-owned firearms. It was motivated by fear of a Bolshevik-type revolution rather than concerns about householders defending themselves against robbers. Anyone wanting to keep a firearm had to get a certificate from his local police chief certifying that he was a suitable person to own a weapon and had a good reason to have it. The definition of "good reason", left to the police, was gradually narrowed until, in 1969, the Home Office decided "it should never be necessary for anyone to possess a firearm for the protection of his house or person". Since these guidelines were classified until 1989, there was no opportunity for public debate.

 

Self defence within the home was also progressively legislated against. The 1953 Prevention of Crime Act made it illegal to carry in a public place any article "made, adapted or intended" for an offensive purpose "without lawful authority or reasonable excuse". Any item carried for defence was, by definition, an "offensive" weapon. Police were given broad power to stop and search anyone. Individuals found with offensive weapons were guilty until proven innocent. The

scope is so broad that a standard legal textbook explains that "any article is capable of being an offensive weapon". The public were told that society would protect them and their neighbours. If they saw someone being attacked they were to walk on by, and leave it to the professionals.

 

Finally, in 1967, tucked into an omnibus revision of criminal law, approved without discussion, was a section that altered the traditional standards for self-defence. Everything was to depend on what seemed "reasonable" force after the fact. It was never deemed reasonable to defend property with force. According to the Textbook of Criminal Law the requirement that an individual's efforts to defend himself be "reasonable" is "now stated in such mitigated terms as to cast doubt on whether it still forms part of the law". Another legal scholar found it "unthinkable" that "Parliament should inadvertently have swept aside the ancient privilege of self defence. Had such a move been debated it is unlikely that members would have sanctioned it." She was confident that Parliament would quickly set things right: "In view of the inadequacy of existing law there is some urgency here." That plea was written 30 years ago, and the situation is infinitely more urgent now.

 

At the same time as government demanded sole responsibility for protecting individuals, it adopted a more lenient approach toward offenders. Sentences were sharply reduced, few offenders served more than a third or a half of their term, and fewer offenders were incarcerated. Further, they were to be protected from their victims. Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for killing one burglar and wounding another, was denied parole because he posed a danger to other burglars. "It cannot possibly be suggested," the government lawyers argued, "that members of the public cease to be so whilst committing criminal offences" adding, "society can not possibly condone their (unlawful) murder or injury".

 

Meanwhile, much of rural Britain is without a police presence. And the statutes meant to protect the people have been vigorously enforced against them. Among the articles people have been convicted of carrying for self defence are a sandbag, a pickaxe handle, a stone, and a drum of pepper.

 

This trade-off of rights for security has been disastrous for both. Crime has rocketed. A UN study in 2002 of 18 developed countries placed England and Wales at the top of the Western world's crime league. Five years after the sweeping 1998 ban on handguns, handgun crime had doubled. As was forecast at the time, the effect of outlawing handguns has been that only outlaws have handguns.

 

In recent years governments have even felt it necessary to prevent the public from defending themselves with imitation weapons. In 1994 an English home-owner, armed with a toy gun, managed to detain two burglars who had broken into his house while he called the police. When the officers arrived, they arrested the home-owner for using an imitation gun to threaten or intimidate. In a similar incident the following year, when an elderly woman fired a toy cap pistol to drive off a group of youths who were threatening her, she was arrested for putting someone in fear. Now the police are pressing Parliament to make imitation guns illegal.

 

The impact on law-abiding citizens has been stark. With no way to protect themselves, millions of Britons live in fear. Elderly people are afraid to go out and afraid to stay in. Self defence, wrote William Blackstone, the 18th-century jurist, is a "natural right that no government can deprive people of, since no government can protect the individual in his moment of need". This Government insists upon having a monopoly on the use of force, but can only impose it upon law-abiding people. By practically eliminating self defence, it has removed the greatest deterrent to crime: a people able to defend themselves.

 


National

BASS Founder heading for Iraq

Since the war began, BASS has received numerous letters and emails from military men serving in Iraq. Later this month, BASS founder Ray Scott pays a Thanksgiving visit to the troops.  “We’re going to be going over yonder and try to entertain and make those boys smile,” he said. “I’m so proud of those kids. I’m just thrilled to be going.”

 

Through his friendship with retired Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Cayton, a Triton Boats dealer in Fort Hood, Texas, Scott arranged to visit with the troops. He will be leaving Nov. 23rd for the 10-day trip sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment.   After brief stops in Germany and Kuwait, Scott will fly to Baghdad. From there, the Ray Scott Thanksgiving

Tour will travel by Blackhawk helicopter to make two or three stops per day throughout Iraq.

 

“It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” said Scott, an Army veteran himself. “I feel so good. I’m at the age (71) and stage where I’d love to do something for my country, but old people don’t get a chance very often – not that I consider myself old. I still think I'm about 20.

 

“I’m not doing this to be heroic or anything like that. I just feel that when a man has a chance to do something for his country, he needs to do it. When I get in front of those kids I’ll have a ball, and they’ll be smiling when we leave. That’s my thrill.”


Judge Declines to Dismiss Int’l Pollution Suit

YAKIMA, Wash. − A federal judge last week refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing a Canadian mining company of polluting the Columbia River with heavy metals for decades. Teck Cominco Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, had argued the lawsuit should be thrown out because the U.S. government cannot impose rules on Canadian companies that operate on Canadian soil.

U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald disagreed, saying the United States' environmental laws are intended to clean up pollution inside U.S. borders, regardless of where it originates. "The Upper Columbia River Site is a 'domestic condition' over which the United States has sovereignty and legislative control," McDonald wrote in a ruling issued in Yakima.

 


Canada

Lone officer guards most borders: 103 'work-alone sites':

'No one can believe it when I tell them we work unarmed and alone'

The majority of Canada's 160 border crossings are patrolled by ill-equipped customs officers who are forced to work alone, without reliable communications devices and quick access to emergency support, warns an internal "risk evaluation" memo prepared by the Canada Border Services Agency.

 

The 30-page internal memo reveals that 92 of the nation's 147 land border crossings, and 11 of 13 border marinas, are classified as "work-alone sites" by the CBSA, the federal agency in charge of protecting the nation's borders. Custom agents say a severe staffing shortage has created a dangerous situation, one that contributed to the death of a customs officer working alone at a remote border crossing three weeks ago.

 

On Oct. 17, border agent Adam Angel was discovered lying in a pool of his own blood and vomit at a "work-alone" crossing in Roosville, B.C., an isolated community about 300 kilometres southwest of Calgary, on the Montana border. Angel had been nearing the end of a solo graveyard shift at the Roosville crossing. Just before 7 a.m., three co-workers arrived for work and found him lying face down in his booth. Mr. Angel died on his way to hospital.

 

While there was no sign of foul play at the scene, the cause of his death is unknown; a coroner's report is still pending. It is believed that Angel suffered either a heart attack or brain aneurysm. The tragedy could have been prevented, his colleagues say, had Angel been working with another customs agent.

 

"Adam was put in a dangerous position. It is completely unacceptable that he is dead because he was working alone," said a veteran customs agent based in Roosville. "If there was someone working with him, he might still be alive today, and his pregnant wife might still have a husband. We're all traumatized by it. We've been saying for years that someone is going to have a medical emergency or get into a violent confrontation at a border crossing. Now it has happened."

 

The tiny B.C. border crossing is among many that are vulnerable to foreign criminals and terrorists, said the Roosville agent. Fearing reprisal from his superiors, he refused to be identified. Most of the work-alone border crossings are in quiet, remote areas, far from police and medical services. Almost 70% of the work-alone sites experience "technical difficulties with their communications tools [e.g. radios not working properly, old equipment, poor cellular reception, dead zones due to geography]," the CBSA report notes.

Personal protection is also an issue. Unlike their U.S. counterparts, Canadian customs inspectors are not issued firearms. Instead, they carry only pepper spray and batons and wear bulletproof vests.   Canadian border agents working solo are instructed to "withdraw when they feel danger" from "unfavorable clients," according to the CBSA report.

 

"It's a ridiculous situation," said the Roosville border officer. "No one can believe it when I tell them that we work in the middle of the mountains, late at night, unarmed and alone.

 

"We can't stop someone if they want to drive across [the border]. I'd say that 60% of the time, people can drive straight through our ports. I've seen it happen. And even if we can get a call out to the RCMP, they are also understaffed. It takes them 45 minutes to respond and sometimes they can't respond at all. It's not safe, it's not in the interests of national security, and it has to end."

 

B.C. Conservative MP Jim Abbott obtained a copy of the internal CBSA report yesterday and shared copies of it with reporters. The Roosville border crossing sits in his federal riding. "I've been hearing from a lot of people in my constituency since Angel's death," said Abbott. "Obviously, the Liberal government only pays lip service to the security of our country."

 

CBSA officials would not discuss specific details contained in the five-month-old report, such as the location of those border crossings with a risk rating identified as "high." CBSA spokesman Chris Kealey said only that the agency "is very concerned that a document with this kind of information is floating around and could be made public. It is a work in progress, not a final document."

 

Among the report's 21 recommendations is that a "formal memorandum of understanding be negotiated with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, to allow for reciprocal provision of incident management, including the provision of first aid." "We're already supposed to ask the Americans to help us, when we can't help ourselves," said one customs officer. "But that didn't help Adam Angel, did it?"

 

The Roosville border station is now staffed with at least two officers at all times. According to Customs and Excise Union executive Steve Pellerin-Fowlie, this is merely a "temporary" solution that won't last past Christmas. "We need more resources and more protection," said Mr. Pellerin-Fowlie, adding that his union's 4,000 customs officers have been working without a contract for months and are now in a legal strike position.

 


Judge Declines to Dismiss Pollution Suit

YAKIMA, Wash. − A federal judge last week refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing a Canadian mining company of polluting the Columbia River with heavy metals for decades. Teck Cominco Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, had argued the lawsuit should be thrown out because the U.S. government cannot impose rules on Canadian companies that operate on Canadian soil.

U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald disagreed, saying the United States' environmental laws are intended to clean up pollution inside U.S. borders, regardless of where it originates. "The Upper Columbia River Site is a 'domestic condition' over which the United States has sovereignty and legislative control," McDonald wrote in a ruling issued in Yakima.

 


Regional

Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  We still need $600,000 to keep this program alive, and we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.

 

We need everyone to help.

 

 Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

           

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span.   The three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.

           

Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

 

The Second Barrier        

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and after a year of false starts construction is now scheduled to begin next week and completed by April 2005. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake still exceeds the available funds by $600,000. We need more funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

                     

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is completed.

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

           

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

           

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2005.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 %  of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if absolutely necessary, for operating expenses of the barrier.

 

 

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp


Carp Fund Barometer

Donation          Ranking

$    1 – 10   Alewife

 

$  11 – 20  Yellow Perch

 

$  21 – 50   Black Bass

     Berg, Jeffrey W.

     Cozzie, Ken

     Fuka, John J.

     Gold Coast Charter Service

 

$  51 – 100   Coho Salmon

     Couston, Tom

     Yahara Fishing Club

$  101 – 200   Walleye

     Chagrin River Salmon Association

 

$  201 – 500   Brown Trout

     Northeast Wis. GL Sport Fishermen

     Detroit Area Steelheaders 

$  501 – 1000   Steelhead

 

$  1001 – 5000   Chinook Salmon

 

$  5001 – UP   Lake Trout

 

_____________________

Current Total= $1,015.00


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for November 12, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 7 to 10 inches above last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 4 inches below its level of a year ago.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St. Clair remain below their long-term averages by 1, 12 and 3 inches, respectively. Lake Erie is above its long-term averages by 1 inch and Lake Ontario is at its long-term average. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

High pressure will again establish its dominance just in time f

or the weekend with dry conditions anticipated for the northern basin through next week.  Daytime temperatures will be close to normal throughout the basin.  A chance for rain or snow exists early in the workweek across the southern and western Lake Erie portions of the basin.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is beginning its seasonal decline, and its level is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is in its seasonal decline and its level is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are continuing their seasonal decline and are expected to drop by 1, 2, and 4 inches, respectively.

  

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.


General

Bassmaster clinics - Bassmaster University

Learn proven bass-catching tips and techniques

Bassmaster University is an intensive two-day program that gives fishermen of all skill levels the latest proven bass-catching knowledge available. Taught exclusively by BASS professionals and experts, this accelerated course covers popular as well as little-known topics that are tailored to the strengths of each instructor.

 

The unscripted presentation by each angler is what makes this invaluable course so unique. As a result, you not only get the how-to, practical information, but also the thought patterns the anglers use on the water.

When you attend one of these in-depth courses you'll see the pages of Bassmaster® Magazine come to life. While there are no guarantees in bass fishing, one thing's for certain . . . you'll shorten the learning curve to landing the catch of a lifetime

 

Instructors and their winning topics:

  • Larry Nixon on the plastic worm and Carolina rig.

  • George Cochran on spinnerbaits and topwater techniques.

  • Davy Hite on deep water cranking, crankbaits and jerkbaits.

  • Mike Iaconelli on flipping & pitching, bass & cover, boat positioning and more.

  • Mike Auten on reading electronics and the drop shot technique.

  • Frank Scalish on smallmouth fishing and the Spider Jig. 

  • Call 866-732-BASS or register now

 

Bass fishing enthusiasts often wonder how professional BASS anglers always catch fish regardless of location or time of year.  Now they have the opportunity to learn the secrets straight from the source at the 2005 Bassmaster University.

 

BASS today announced the schedule for the upcoming series

of seminars that will take place throughout the country. This extremely popular program features weekend seminars from six top anglers at each location. Classes take place from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and the cost is just $109. Special Bass Pro Shops programs, indicated below, are $129 for the entire weekend and include a $50 merchandise pack and 15% off selected Bass Pro Shops merchandise. The enrollment fee is $55 for regular Bassmaster University sites for a spouse or a child 16 or under attending with a full-paying adult. The enrollment fee is $65 for Bass Pro Shops sites for a spouse or child 16 or under attending with a full-paying adult. To enroll, contact the school of your choice. For further information, call 1-866-732-BASS or visit www.bassmaster.com.

 

Select the location nearest you for more information and on-line registration.

 

Alabama
Auburn

Georgia
Savannah
Kennesaw

Illinois
Greater Chicago

Indiana
Indianapolis
Evansville

Kansas
Overland Park

Louisiana
Monroe
 

Maryland
Bel Air

Massachusetts
Westborough

Michigan
Lansing

Mississippi
Hattiesburg

Missouri
St. Peters

New Jersey
Edison

New York

Albany

North Carolina
Charlotte

Ohio
Cleveland

Oklahoma
Midwest City

Pennsylvania
Harrisburg

Texas
Beaumont
Arlington

Virginia
Richmond

Florida
Orlando

Missouri
Springfield

New York
Auburn

Ohio
Cincinnati

Tennessee
Nashville

 


Michigan

Indian Commercials illegally take 2 tons of fish

State officials cited two tribal commercials November 6 for illegally taking 4,200 lbs of fish from Lake Michigan near Ludington. Michigan DNR officers cited the two men when they returned in a commercial fishing boat to Pere Marquette Lake. The officers had the two men under surveillance for several hours before making the bust, said Jim Espinoza, a DNR conservation officer.

 

The men were cited for fishing with gill nets in Lake Michigan when the tribal fishing season is closed. Because the men are American Indians, they will face charges in tribal court, Espinoza said. Had the men not been American Indians, DNR officers could have arrested the alleged fish poachers and seized their boat.

 

Michigan's authority to regulate Indian tribes' commercial fishing operations in the Great Lakes will be tested by the unprecedented seizure.  A treaty between the state of Michigan and American Indian tribes permits tribal members to use huge nets to conduct commercial fishing operations in the northern half of Lake Michigan. The tribal fishing season is currently closed, Espinoza said.

 

Michigan DNR officers allege the men captured the whitefish, lake trout and chubs out of season. Tribal rules forbid commercial fishing in Lake Michigan, between Grand Haven and the Straits of Mackinac, from noon Nov. 6 to noon Nov. 29. The fishery is closed during that time to protect spawning lake

trout and whitefish. Violating those rules is a "major infraction" that could result in a fine of at least $250 and a minimum 30 day suspension of the offender's fishing permit, according to tribal rules.

 

State conservation officers began monitoring the tribe's commercial fishing operations after a conservation officer documented the sale of fresh whitefish in Upper Peninsula fish markets in late 2000 and 2003, after the tribal fishery had closed. Because fish markets only buy fresh whitefish, sales of the fish after Nov. 6 were a clue that someone was illegally conducting commercial fishing operations when the season was closed.

 

The Coast Guard was watching when the tribal commercial fishing boat left Ludington  nearly an hour after the fishing season had closed, and headed out into Lake Michigan. A Coast Guard vessel followed the boat back into port shortly after 5 p.m., where armed DNR conservation officers were waiting on the dock.

 

The DNR planned to seek criminal charges against the men in tribal court. Under terms of the 1836 treaty, the state can only pursue criminal charges against the men in tribal court. "If they were not Native Americans, they would be looking at paying restitution of $10 per pound for the fish, tremendous fines, up to 90 days in jail and a hearing where the captain could lose his commercial fishing permit," state officials said.


Students invited to design Michigan wild turkey patch

Michigan students have an opportunity to help wildlife in Michigan by designing a patch for the third annual wild turkey patch contest.

 

The contest is open to all students grades K-12. The winning design will be incorporated into the 2006 Michigan wild turkey management cooperator patch. The winner and his or her parents or guardians will be invited to the Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) banquet in January 2005, where the winner will receive a $100 award.

 

"Youth can use their design skills and creativity to help wild turkeys by improving their habitat in Michigan," says Dale Elshoff, Project WILD coordinator at Michigan State University. "Wild turkeys disappeared in Michigan in the early 1900s, but

now, thanks to proper management, our turkey population has returned to healthy levels."

 

The Michigan chapter of the NWTF now facilitates the production of the wild turkey management cooperator patch, which is available to anyone. Sales and proceeds are used to support wild turkey-related projects in Michigan. The Michigan Chapter of the NWTF, Project WILD and the DNR are sponsoring this year's contest.

 

For more information and complete contest rules, visit www.canr.msu.edu/projectwild/ or contact Dale Elshoff at elshoff@msu.edu  or 517-432-7651. All entries must be postmarked by Dec. 9. There's also an electronic form on the State of Michigan home page at http://www.state.mi.us/listserv/subscribe.html

 


Bill introduced to eliminate the use of lead weights

A bill to amend Michigan’s "Natural resources and environmental protection act," which would ban the use of any lead fishing tackle has been introduced in the State House.  It was introduced by Rep. Chris Kolb, a Democrat from Ann Arbor on August 4, 2004.  It was referred to Committee on Land Use and Environment.  Rumor has it is backed by PETA

 

The Bill reads in part: Beginning January 1, 2008, a person shall not use any  lead fishing tackle in the waters of the state.  Beginning January 1, 2006, the department, in  consultation with any other state department or agency that the department requests participate and that agrees to participate,  shall implement an education and outreach program concerning the  implementation and enforcement of this part. The program may  include any of the following:

 

 (a) Providing information concerning the prohibitions

contained in this section to the public with fishing licenses,

 through the department's website, or by any other means.

(b) Encouraging fishing tackle manufacturers to provide more lead-free fishing tackle.(c) Coordinating lead-free fishing tackle swap events.

(d) Providing information and coordination on recycling or disposal sites for lead fishing tackle.

(e) Providing general information on the dangers of lead fishing tackle to wildlife and humans.

(f) Any other action the department considers appropriate to assist in or provide information or educate the public about the implementation and enforcement of this part.

 

A person who is in violation is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 60 days  or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both, plus the costs of  prosecution.

 


Minnesota

Special regs for Lake of the Woods and Rainy River

Purpose is to maintain walleye, sauger populations

Minnesota DNR announced that new size and possession limits for walleye and sauger would be implemented on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River starting Dec. 1, 2004.

 

The changes are intended to protect the high-quality fishery for which Lake of the Woods has become famous. Key features of the new regulations are a six-fish aggregate limit during the open water season, of which only four can be walleye. During the winter season, anglers can keep an eight-fish aggregate limit, of which only four can be walleye. In addition, all fish from 19.5 inches to 28 inches must be immediately released. Anglers can keep one fish over 28 inches if they so choose.

 

Lake of the Woods is managed with a maximum target harvest of 450,000 pounds of walleye. The average harvest over the past five years has exceeded 600,000 pounds, with peak harvests of more than 750,000 pounds in two of those five years. The high harvests have been driven by some strong year classes, but most importantly, by a steady increase in angler use of Lake of the Woods. Similarly, sauger harvest in recent years has exceeded what biologists believe is sustainable on a long-term basis. The Rainy River walleye population was included in the special regulations, as the walleye populations between the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods intermingle.

 

"Harvests of this magnitude are a concern to us because they can start to negatively affect the size structure of the fish population," said Mike Larson, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Baudette. "The large individuals in the walleye population on Lake of the Woods are not just important to anglers that are seeking a quality walleye experience. These fish also comprise the majority of the spawning population in the lake."

 

The regulations were developed with the help of local resorts and anglers. "The input we received from our stakeholders was very important in developing a socially acceptable and biologically meaningful regulations proposal," said Larson. "The input we received during the public input process was

largely supportive of the proposed changes, which we believe are an important step in insuring the future of the Lake of the Woods fishery. The DNR thanks the hundreds of anglers that took the time to offer their comments on this very important consideration."

 

Summary of Regulation Changes

Lake of the Woods (including Fourmile Bay) - Walleye opener through Nov. 30

● walleye/sauger aggregate limit will be six (not more than four walleye)

● walleye and sauger between 19.5 inches and 28 inches must be released immediately

● only one walleye over 28 inches may be possessed.

 

Lake of the Woods (including Fourmile Bay) - Dec. 1 through end of February

● walleye/sauger aggregate limit will be eight (not more than four walleye)

● walleye and sauger between 19.5 inches and 28 inches must be released immediately

● only one walleye over 28 inches may be possessed.

 

Lake of the Woods (not including Fourmile Bay) - March 1 through April 14

● walleye/sauger aggregate limit will be eight (not more than four walleye)

● walleye and sauger between 19.5 inches and 28 inches must be released immediately

● only one walleye over 28 inches may be possessed.

 

Rainy River - Walleye opener through February

● walleye/sauger aggregate limit will be six (not more than four walleye)

● walleye and sauger between 19.5 inches and 28 inches must be released immediately

● only one walleye over 28 inches may be possessed.

 

Rainy River (including Fourmile Bay) - March 1 through April

● walleye/sauger limit will be two

● no walleye/sauger over 19.5 inches may be possessed.


DNR sets public input on experimental regs for Leech Lake

Open houses scheduled for December 16 in Walker and St. Paul

The Minnesota DNR is proposing to implement experimental regulations for walleye on Leech Lake. The experimental regulations are being proposed to protect brood stock in the lake, which DNR biologists are concerned about due to weak year classes since 1997. If implemented, the regulations would go into effect beginning in May 2005 for a period of eight years, and would be evaluated following angler surveys and annual population monitoring.

 

The proposed regulations would limit total possession of walleye to four fish, only one of which could exceed 28 inches. It would also require anglers to return all walleye in a protective slot of 18 inches to 28 inches to the water.

 

"We considered several other regulations in our modeling, but deemed them either too restrictive for anglers or not restrictive enough to protect the brood stock," said Harlan Fierstine, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Walker. "Our main concern is to protect those medium- and larger-sized fish until we can get some decent year classes in the lake over the next few years."

 

Stronger year classes are the basis for improving the walleye population in Leech Lake, according to Fierstine. Among the necessary conditions for development of a strong year class are positive spawning conditions, a relatively mild spring, a good forage base, and low predation, which on Leech Lake comes from both larger fish and a growing cormorant colony.

 

The proposed regulations are one strategy in a four-part plan that the DNR is employing to improve the Leech Lake walleye fishery in coming years. The DNR is working with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the

U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program to initiate stepped-up control measures for the cormorant colony. DNR staff is also internally reviewing different options for stocking the lake with marked fry and developing short- and long-term fish habitat goals with the Leech Lake Association, local units of government and others.

 

"We are addressing the fishery concerns we have for Leech Lake from several angles," said Henry Drewes, northwest regional fisheries manager. "The enthusiasm and cooperation we're seeing from concerned citizens and anglers, the tribe, local businesses and natural resource professionals from around the region have been outstanding."

                                                        

The DNR is encouraging public input on the proposed regulations during two public venues. The first of those venues will take place at the Walker/Hackensack/Akeley High School Commons, 301 4th Street South, Walker, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16.

 

At that meeting, DNR fisheries staff will make a short presentation on the proposed experimental regulations and update the public on other DNR initiatives to improve fishing on Leech Lake before answering questions and accepting public comments. For those unable to attend the meeting in Walker, DNR staff will be available to take comments and answer questions on the proposed regulation at the DNR central office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 16.

 

Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 27 and can be submitted to Harlan Fierstine: DNR Area Fisheries Supervisor, 07316 State Highway 371 NW, Walker, MN 56484; or by calling (218) 547-1683 or e-mailing Harlan.Fierstine@dnr.state.mn.us .

 


New York

DEC reminds hunters about benefits of Venison Donation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reminded sportsmen across New York State that they can contribute venison to help feed the hungry by taking deer to participating meat processors and donating meat to the Venison Donation Coalition. Regular deer season opened on October 23, 2004, in the Northern Zone and opens on November 22, 2004, in the Southern Zone.

           

The Venison Donation Coalition was established in the year 2000 to help organizations that wanted to begin or enhance a Venison Donation Program in their area.  In just four years, over 250,000 pounds of venison have been donated, processed and distributed through New York’s Food Bank network.  That equates to one million servings of venison in four short years. 

Legislation was recently enacted that authorizes DEC to enable people to contribute a dollar to the Venison Donation Program when they purchase their sporting license.  DEC’s Automated License Sales (DECALS) system will accept contributions starting next fall.

 

When venison is brought to participating processors for donation, the meat is processed at no cost to the hunter. For Participating processors:  www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/deer/venison.htm and click on “Venison Donation Coalition,” or call Venison Donation Coalition: 866-862-3337 (DEER) or visit  www.VenisonDonation.com . For more info, see:   www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/guide/huntseas

.html on DEC’s website.

 


Pennsylvania

Applications Being Accepted for Youth Camp

Applications are now being accepted for the 10th annual Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp being held June 19 –24, 2005 at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Cumberland County, according to Camp Chairman Rod Cross.  The purpose of the camp is to educate students in the importance of coldwater conservation. 

 

The selection of 32 students is a rigorous process, which requires students to include an essay on why he or she wishes to attend.

 

The college-level classes include:  principles of ecology, hydrogeology, aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate sampling, hydrology, trout behavior, trout stream entomology, the biology of pollution, acid deposition, and the politics of conservation and the effects of humans on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

In addition, the camp provides hands-on classes such as fly tying, fly casting, streamside ethics, angling literature, the evolution of an angler, wader safety and survival, and

streamside botany.  The students will also participate in a watershed project to repair habitat in a stream.

 

According to Cross, the camp faculty includes people from various environmental fields and from state agencies such as the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  

 

The camp is limited to 32 selected, qualified students, aged 14 to 17.  The student must have been born between June 24, 1987 and June 19, 1991 to qualify.  The camp selection committee will choose students based upon each candidate’s qualifications and their desire to attend as stated in the required essay.

 

For more info and application, contact Mike Klimkos at (717) 243-3056, or via email at klimkos@epix.net ; Rod Cross at (717) 263-0365; or visit the camp website at www.riverscamp.com  .

 


Wisconsin

Fund-raising effort bites dust; donated kits include filet knives

GERMANTOWN, Wis. - A donation of 2,200 fishing kits to raise money for the Germantown High School band has hit a snag.

 

The kits aren't even allowed on school property because each contains a 6-inch filet knife, administrators say.  Band leader Jim Barnes said no one was aware of the knives until a truck arrived with the shipment of kits. "It seemed like a kit with a fishing lure, fish batter, a recipe book and a videotape," he

said. "We were not aware of the filet knife. It was there, but it wasn't obvious. I didn't realize it until the truck came around."

 

Principal Janet Barnes, no relation to Jim Barnes, said she didn't learn about the knives until the truck driver commented about them.  Ted Stephenson, a salesman for Shore Lunch Inc. which makes the kits, said he only wanted to help band members raise money for a trip to Scotland at the end of March. He donated $10,000 worth of the kits, which go by the product name Catch'Em, Cook'Em and Eat'Em.


Volunteers needed to provide hair samples for mercury study

MADISON -- Adult anglers in Wisconsin can help state health officials study the relationship between fish consumption and mercury exposure by volunteering to submit hair samples for the study.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services is conducting the study of fish consumption and mercury exposure and hopes to analyze mercury levels in hair samples from 2,000 men and women 18 and older between January 2004 and June 2005, according to Lynda Knobeloch, a DHFS toxicologist in the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.

 

Study volunteers are asked to complete a brief questionnaire and send a hair sample for analysis. Laboratory results will be

mailed to all study participants along with an interpretation of their mercury level, Knobeloch says.

 

People interested in participating in the study can call 1-866-236-3461 or log on to the mercury study Web site at  http:www.wisc.edu/uwsc/mercury.htm- Exit DNR   to request a survey and hair collection kit. For additional information about this study, please contact Dr. Lynda Knobeloch at (608) 266-0923 or e-mail her at knobelm@dhfs.state.wi.us .

 

Because some fish from nearly all Wisconsin waters contain elevated levels of mercury, DHFS and the DNR jointly issue recommendations that people limit the number of meals they eat of certain fish species and sizes to continue gaining the benefits of eating fish while limiting dietary exposure to mercury.


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