For Immediate Release Contact: Marc Gaden
May 28, 1997 313-662-3209 ext. 14
Agencies with fishery management authority on the
Great Lakes will gather in Ottawa, Ontario on June 10 to officially
endorse an updated version of Joint Strategic Plan for Management
of Great Lakes Fisheries, the landmark plan under which the Great
Lakes fishery is collectively managed as an ecosystem. The Plan,
which is widely hailed as one of the world's best examples of
cooperative fishery management, has been the subject of an intensive
two-year review process in an effort to identify ways in which
cooperative Great Lakes fishery management can be enhanced. Major
changes to the Plan include an expanded commitment by fish managers
to work together to influence all management activities which
affect fish; stronger links with environmental management agencies;
the establishment of a Council of Great Lakes Fisheries Agencies;
and a revised mechanism to resolve interjurisdictional disputes.
The Plan was developed in 1980 by natural resource
agencies with responsibility for fisheries management on the Great
Lakes. Since that time, the Plan has been the blueprint by which
fishery management agencies in both Canada and the United States
work cooperatively to achieve common objectives. The Plan identifies
the lake committees of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission as the
major action arms for the agencies to achieve their joint objectives
for sustaining and enhancing the fisheries.
The Plan's implementation remains rooted in a series
of strategic procedures that call for lake committees to define
Fish Community Objectives, to identify environmental issues that
impede achievement of Fish Community Objectives, and to develop
plans for achieving Fish Community and Environmental objectives.
Strategic procedures also call for fishery agencies to submit
changes in practice to lake committees and to provide annual reports
on agencies' progress in reaching their fishery management objectives.
The Plan is based on consensus, but if consensus is not achieved,
parties may request independent third party mediation.
Specifically, the major revisions to the Plan include:
An expanded commitment by fish managers to work
together to influence all management activities which affect fish.
The Plan, since its inception, has epitomized the ecosystem approach
to fishery management; the revised plan reaffirms this approach.
The Plan acknowledges that management practices that deal with
the environment, with shipping and transportation, with dredging,
or with myriad other issues also relate to the fishery. The revised
Plan calls for signatories to work together more closely to influence
and respond to all practices-not just fishery management activities
of the other signatories-which affect fish communities.
Stronger links with environmental management agencies.
The revised plan acknowledges that more needs to be done to coordinate
fishery management objectives with environmental objectives. Lakewide
Management Plans (LaMPs) and Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) are
identified in the revised Plan as processes which fishery management
agencies can work more effectively with their environmental counterparts.
The establishment of a Council of Great Lakes
Fisheries Agencies. The original Plan
was created by an ad hoc Committee of the Whole made up of high-ranking
officials of the signatory agencies. In practice, the Committee
of the Whole met infrequently. The Council of Great Lakes Fisheries
Agencies will be made up of fishery management officials (fish
chiefs or their equivalents) empowered to act on behalf of their
respective agencies. The council is designed to make decisions
by consensus to ensure mutual accountability of the parties in
the implementation and periodic review of the Plan and to provide
guidelines within the Plan's institutional arrangement, among
other responsibilities. This new council will receive administrative
support from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
A revised mechanism to resolve interjurisdictional
disputes. Signatories to the Plan have
agreed to seek consensus when management practices may affect
other jurisdictions. The original Plan relied on the Great Lakes
Fishery Commission to provide non-binding arbitration in the settlement
of disputes between jurisdictions. If consensus cannot be achieved,
the revised Plan allows for independent third-party mediation.
"The Joint Strategic Plan for Management of
Great Lakes Fisheries is the indispensable mechanism by which
all management agencies work together on the Great Lakes,"
said Doug Jester of the Michigan DNR. "The Plan not only
reminds us that the Great Lakes resources are shared by many jurisdictions,
but it also puts into place mechanisms that ensure that the resource
is managed as an ecosystem. Without the Plan, agencies would
probably duplicate efforts, would likely work at cross purposes,
and would be prone to lose sight of the fact that our natural
resources do not observe political boundaries."
Bob Beecher of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
added: "The revised Plan is the culmination of a rigorous
review process that investigated any and all ways in which agencies
can work together more effectively. The revised Plan strengthens
an already superb working arrangement among agencies in the United
States and Canada and reaffirms the strong commitment by all agencies
to work together toward a true ecosystem approach to management
on the Great Lakes."
The signing ceremony will take place during the Great
Lakes Fishery Commission's annual meeting, at the Ottawa Sheraton
Hotel, on Tuesday, June 10, 1997, at 1:30 p.m. Representatives
of the following agencies will sign the revised plan:
(The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, a signatory to the original Plan, has not completed its internal review of the revised Plan, and will not participate in the June 10th signing ceremony.)
A copy of the revised Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries is available on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's website at http://www.glfc.org/sglfmp97.htm or by calling the commission at 313-662-3209 ext. 19.