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Multi-state fish poaching investigation ends with several citations issued

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Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 9:46 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A multi-year, multi-state fish poaching investigation into lake whitefish has officially come to a close Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced, with several citations issued.

The Wisconsin DNR teamed up with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 2019 to look into the poaching and over-harvesting of hundreds of lake whitefish in the Menominee River.

State officials noted that they worked with Michigan law enforcement to track confirmed violations between Menominee, Michigan and Marinette, Wisconsin. Illinois’s department provided logistical assistance.

Overall, 29 citations were issued by officials. The DNR stated that 91 whitefish were seized and 24 years of revocation was ordered for violators.

DNR Marine Warden Jeff Lautenslager explained that 11 violators were found from Illinois, one was found in Michigan and one was from Wisconsin. Lautenslager said these alleged offenders were organized about their strategy.

“The DNR wardens and investigators in this case remain hopeful the removal of these numerous violators will make room for the legal and ethical individuals who enjoy viewing and legally fishing lake whitefish,” Lautenslager said. “The laws we have are specifically to protect this valued and vulnerable fish species.”

The three agencies started the investigation after realizing there were organized attacks on the whitefish and continued their investigation into 2021.

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