Published March 10, 2017
Provides guidelines for successful walleye spawning season
AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is notifying individuals who are non-members that fishing in Akwesasne’s territorial waters is an inherent and protected right of tribal members. Anyone seeking to fish in our territory who is not an enrolled tribal member must obtain a Non-Member Fishing Permit pursuant to the Non-Member Fishing Permit Regulations and Law (TCR #2011-52).
“Fish have an important historical, cultural and economic significance to the Akwesasne community,” stated Tribal Chief Eric Thompson. He added, “As a result, the Tribe has entrusted its Environment Division and the Compliance Department with the responsibility to implement measures designed to help safeguard this irreplaceable resource. Pursuant to tribal law, non-members are required to obtain a Non-Member Fishing Permit and comply with the Tribe’s fishing regulations.”
On November 22, 2011 the Tribal Council adopted the Non-Member Fishing Regulations to specifically apply to all non-tribal members who want to fish in Akwesasne. In 2014, it was amended in collaboration with tribal fishermen to support the Tribe’s conservation efforts by specifying the St. Regis River and Raquette River, upstream from the St. Lawrence River through the Tribe’s jurisdiction. It was also further strengthened by noting that non-members may not fish during a closed season for any species.
According to Tribal Chief Beverly Cook, “For years, community members have approached the Tribe and expressed concerns about non-members fishing at a time when the fish are spawning, specifically walleye. The spawning season for walleye only lasts one to three days and takes place in a confined area, which makes them vulnerable to being overfished. The Non-Membership Fishing Regulation was developed to prevent this action, as it can have a devastating impact on their population.”
Applications for a Non-Member Fishing Permit are available for an annual fee of $40 from the Tribe’s Compliance Department; located on the third floor of the Community Building at 412 State Route 37 in Akwesasne, NY. Copies of the Tribe’s Non-Member Fishing Regulations and additional information are also available upon request. Additionally, non-members are required to also comply with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Statewide Angling Regulations.
“We are asking individuals to support our community’s efforts to preserve and protect Akwesasne’s natural resources — including fish that continue to provide for many of our members,” said Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance. He noted, “To ensure this valuable resource remains available for future generations, the Non-Member Fishing Regulations will continue to be enforced by the Tribe’s Compliance Department, which may result in a fine and the fishing permit being revoked for non-members found in violation.”
To enhance the walleye population, the Environment Division is recommending that all fishermen respect the following guidelines: please refrain from conducting large harvests during spawning seasons, give younger walleye a chance to grow by limiting size to a minimum of 15 inches, and help ensure a successful spawning season by releasing larger walleye over a maximum size of 22 inches, as a large female walleye can produce between 300,000 to 600,000 eggs.
Respecting the above guidelines and compliance with the Tribe’s Non-Member Fishing Regulations will build a healthy and prosperous environment for the enjoyment of community members.
If you have any questions, please contact the Compliance Department at (518) 358-2272.