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Creating a Fisheries Dialogue

To increase and broaden public input on statewide fishery issues and facilitate dialogue between various fisheries’ interests, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress are forming a new fisheries advisory group that meets for the first time on March 29.

The new group, called the Wisconsin Fisheries Advisory Council, will bring together representatives from diverse statewide fishing groups as well as representatives from the fishing business community and tourism. In addition to groups such as Walleyes for Tomorrow and Trout Unlimited, angling groups aimed at bringing new people to fishing will be represented as well, including Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, Wisconsin Women Fish, and the Hmong American Sportsmen Club.

The group will advise DNR’s fisheries management board and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress on statewide issues including DNR’s long-term fisheries plan, biennial budgeting, and balancing angling groups’ sometimes competing desires and priorities for their favorite fish species, says Mike Staggs, DNR’s fisheries director, “We are excited about the opportunity to expand public involvement in our fisheries program from a statewide perspective,” he says.

“The idea,” Staggs continues, “is to get people who represent a cross-section of our users to help us try to balance all of the different and competing priorities of these groups and make the wisest use of our staff and resources.”

Agenda items for the first meeting include a review and discussion of current statewide fisheries issues and statewide planning efforts for panfish, trout, sturgeon, walleye and public outreach.