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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

97C.835 LAKE SUPERIOR COMMERCIAL FISHING.
    Subdivision 1. Commercial fishing license for Lake Superior. (a) A license to fish
commercially in Lake Superior shall be issued to a maximum of 25 residents. To qualify for
licensing, a resident must have landed fish in the previous year with a value of at least $1,500,
and must have engaged in commercial fishing for at least 30 days of the previous year. An
applicant may be issued a license, at the discretion of the commissioner, if failure to meet the
requirements for the dollar value of fish landed or number of days fished resulted from illness or
other mitigating circumstances, or the applicant has reached the age of 65 and has been licensed at
least five of the previous ten years.
    (b) A license may be issued to a resident who has not previously fished commercially on
Lake Superior and has not been convicted of a game and fish law violation in the preceding
three years, if the applicant:
    (1) shows a bill of sale indicating the purchase of gear and facilities connected with an
existing license;
    (2) shows proof of inheritance of all the gear and facilities connected with an existing
license; or
    (3) has served at least two years as an apprentice in a Minnesota Lake Superior licensed
commercial fishing operation.
    Subd. 2. Types of fish permitted. Lake trout, ciscoes, chubs, alewives, lake whitefish, round
whitefish, pygmy whitefish, rainbow smelt, and rough fish may be taken by licensed commercial
fishing operators from Lake Superior, in accordance with this section.
    Subd. 3. Pound nets and trap nets. Pound or trap nets may be used to take lake whitefish,
round whitefish, pygmy whitefish, ciscoes, chubs, alewives, rainbow smelt, and rough fish in
Lake Superior, including St. Louis Bay east of the U.S. Highway 53 bridge, under the rules
prescribed by the commissioner.
    Subd. 4. Gill nets; lake trout and lake whitefish. Gill nets for taking lake trout and lake
whitefish may not be less than 4-1/2 inch extension measure mesh. The commissioner may
prescribe rules to limit the total amount of gill net to be licensed for the taking of lake trout and
lake whitefish and may limit the amount of net to be operated by each licensee.
    Subd. 5. Gill nets; ciscoes. Gill nets for taking ciscoes and chubs may not be less than 2-1/4
inch extension measure mesh and may not exceed 2-3/4 inch extension measure mesh except that
smaller or larger mesh sizes may be used under a permit issued by the commissioner.
    Subd. 6. Maximum amount of gill net in Lake Superior. The amount of gill net licensed
in Minnesota waters of Lake Superior may not exceed 300,000 feet of net weighted to fish in
a floating or suspended position off the bottom and 300,000 feet of net weighted to fish on the
bottom.
    Subd. 7. Maximum amount of gill net for each Lake Superior licensee. A licensee may
not operate more than 6,000 feet of gill net weighted to fish in a floating or suspended position
off the bottom or 25,000 feet of gill net weighted to fish on the bottom. The commissioner may
authorize gill net footage in excess of the individual limits when the commissioner determines that
all of the gill net footage permitted for Minnesota waters of Lake Superior would not otherwise be
allocated in a license year. The commissioner must allocate this excess gill net footage equitably
among the licensees who have applied for it.
    Subd. 8. Special permits. The commissioner may issue special permits to duly licensed
commercial fishing operators for the purpose of taking lake trout, ciscoes, and lake whitefish in
Lake Superior and adjacent waters under rules prescribed by the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 67; 1996 c 410 s 48,49; 2007 c 131 art 1 s 51-53