WISCONSIN (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), along with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has officially concluded a multi-year investigation into fish poaching and overharvest. of the Menominee River. .
According to a statement, local law enforcement has been investigating individuals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois over the overharvesting of hundreds of vulnerable spawning lake whitefish in the Menominee River.
Authorities teamed up to track down the offenders, including 11 from Illinois, one from Michigan and one from Wisconsin.
“Our joint investigation revealed that these violators were organized, strategic and intentional,” said DNR Navy Director Jeff Lautenslager. “The lake whitefish in this river are particularly vulnerable during the end of the year months. They congregate in the upstream systems of Wisconsin each fall for their annual spawning.
Following the conclusion of the court proceedings, 29 citations were issued and 91 whitefish were seized and confiscated by the court. The citations also ordered a total of 24 years of rights revocation.
“MNR custodians and investigators, in this case, hope the removal of these many violators will make room for legal and ethical people who enjoy watching and fishing lake whitefish legally. The laws we have are specifically aimed at protecting this valuable and vulnerable species of fish,” Lautenslager said. “People who fish and enjoy watching wildlife should know that their state conservation officers often work together to protect our resources and the people who benefit from them. We hope this case will deter flagrant and flagrant violations of fishing laws.
This case began in 2019 when wardens and MNR officers became aware of organized attacks on lake whitefish.