Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DNR Statements Cause Fishing Confusion

A mixed message is coming from the Department of Natural resources regarding fishing in the state during the government shut down.  According to a press release from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce released about 1:30pm on Wednesday afternoon, it was quoted from a statement from Lt. Thomas Provost, DNR Law Enforcement Supervisor that "Zero enforcement of fishing licenses isn't quite accurate.  We will be monitoring fish limits as time and workload allow and if we have the need to check a license and the angler is not able to produce one due to the electronic licensing system being shut down, we will document the contact and then follow-up to ensure a license has been purchased after the fact.  For those individuals who want to fish and were unable to buy a license and were not checked during the shutdown, the idea is that they will also purchase a license after the fact when the state system is back up and running.  Similiar to an "honor system."

Then, later in the afternoon on Wednesday, Associated Press, quoting a statement from DNR Enforcement Chief, Jim Konrad, that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that there is no way to get around the state's fishing license requirements during the shutdown period and Konrad made it clear that fishing on the honor system is not allowed.  Konrad said that some licensing agents and resorts have been issuing so-called "temporary licenses" on the condition that buyers promise to purchase a legal license when the shutdown ends.  Konrad says those unauthorized documents are not valid and he says anyone caught fishing without a valid license could be ticketed. 

The Crow Wing County Commissioners requested the DNR to clarify the rules concerning the  fishing license situation in Minnesota during the shutdown.

With two different viewpoints coming from the DNR, resort owners and potential fisher persons are still in a state of confusion.

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