The Michican Daily--Saturday. May 10,1980-Page 15
Attorney General Kelley, citing depleted
lakes, seeks new curbs on Indian fishing
LANSING (UPI)-Attorney General Frank Kelley,
citing new evidence of dwindling fish stocks, once
again yesterday asked the courts to order an
immediate halt to Indian gill netting and challenged
new federal rules on the practi~e.
In a motion filed in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals in Cincinnati, Kelley called the U.S. Interior
Department's work on Indian fishing rules an extra-
judicial maneuver which should not be allowed while
the legal case is pending. The department has been
discussing the rules with state officials.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE Noel Fox last year ruled a
pair of 19th century treaties give two Indian tribes
the right to fish in the Great Lakes free of state
The ruling was appealed by state officials who
claim the Indians' use of otherwise illegal gill nets is
devastating fish stocks in portions of Lake Michigan
and Lake Huron.
In the meantime, the federal government has been
working on rules to regulate the Indians' activities.
INITIAL PROPOSALS drew strong protests at
public hearings in Michigan last fall, but revised
regulations issued earlier this year have fared little
The federal rules create off-limits zones to shelter
endangered whitefish and lake trout, but allow
continued gill netting in other areas.
Kelley, who initially asked for a stay of Fox's ruling
nearly seven months ago, cited the delay in renewing
HE ALSO SAID evidence offered during federal
court hearings last December show fish stocks in
Lake Huron and Lake Michigan will be seriously
depleted unless commercial gill netting is prohibited.
Kelley said the rules proposed by the Interior
Department are ineffective if not completely void.
The department lacks the authority to regulate
Indian fishing outside the reservation and the move
violates the Coastal Zone Management Act which
calls for cooperative state-federal action, he said.
While the Indian fishing case wends its way
through the courts "meetings are being conducted on
the same issue by federal officials and others,"
Kelley said-an apparent reference to negotiations
between the Interior Department and the state.
"None of my lawyers are involved," he said,
adding "these actions border on contempt."
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