U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Division (LED) recently raided a Wisconsin-based fishing and distribution center.
The Great Lakes states are a beacon for the commercial fishing trade—illegal or otherwise, and now demographic was this more relevant than that of indigenous native american tribes of the region, such as the Chippewa Indian tribe—non-indigenous minorities and majorities were also targeted.
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After establishing an illegitimate, pseudo-distribution center near Lake Michigan, millions of pounds of illegally harvested fish were documented, coming out of Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The keystone species—sturgeon, lake trout, and walleye—were all the product of illegal fishing practices.
“On Nov. 5, 2014 , U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service agents executed search warrants at various locations in northern Michigan and Northeastern Wisconsin (that are or were holders of) holding wholesaler records of fish taken from lakes Michigan and Superior…The searches are pursuant to an investigation into potential violations of the Lacey Act.”— U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr.
The Lacey Act is a conservation law policy that prohibits the use, trafficking, domestication, possession, etc. of any illegally harvested fauna—plant or animal—making it a citable offense to do so, punishable by law. Under the act as well, any false reporting or documentation of quota numbers, population counts, is deemed equally as punishable.
Lake trout numbers that have been in notorious decline for decades, due to over-harvesting and introduced lamprey populations, have just recently began moving in a forward trajectory, increasing year after year.