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Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers Seek Charges for Illegal Commercial Fishing Operation

Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are seeking

multiple charges against six Delta County men in connection with an

illegal commercial fishing operation on Little Bay De Noc. Charges will

be sought in both state and tribal court systems.

During a records review, a DNR conservation officer noted an abnormally

high number of walleye were being sold in the wholesale commercial

market during the winter months over the past several years.

Conservation officers from the DNR’s Commercial Fish Enforcement and

Special Investigative Units, as well as conservation officers stationed

in Delta County, developed further information while operating

surveillance on Little Bay De Noc and surrounding areas.

“A pattern was established by officers,†said Gary Hagler, chief of

the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Once that pattern was established,

our officers were able to determine that thousands of pounds of walleyes

may have been taken from area waters and illegally sold into the

commercial fish market through a licensed commercial fisherman.â€

Hagler said that officers believe more than 20,000 pounds of walleye

may have been taken from area waters through the illegal operation just

in the last two months.

Last week, DNR conservation officers seized 256 pounds of walleye that

were harvested from nets in Little Bay De Noc the previous day. Officers

returned to the bay with Sault Tribal police officers and seized 1,200

feet of illegally set gill net.

“This is a complex case that took some time to develop,†Hagler

noted. “Also, the public provided critical information by alerting us

to illegally set nets on Little Bay De Noc. This type of public

involvement is crucial to protecting our natural resources.â€

Any natural resources-related violations can be reported anonymously to

the DNR through the Report All Poaching (RAP) Line at 800-292-7800.

Monetary awards are sometimes given for information that leads to an


The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use

and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future


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