The Inter-tribal Fisheries and Assessment Program is a biological program administered by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, but also has historically provided biological services to the other four recognized tribes that are party to the 1836 Treaty of Washington.
ITFAP currently supports 10 employees and operates three major focus areas, which are supported by separate funding sources, but are highly interrelated activities:
- Great Lakes Fisheries Management
- Great Lakes Environmental
- Fisheries Enhancement
Great Lakes Fishery Management
To provide the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) and its member tribes, with a comprehensive program of biological services necessary for the monitoring, management and regulation of the treaty fishery resources within the 1836 treaty-cession area of the Great Lakes. Proper management and regulation of the tribal fishery requires biological review consisting of data collection, interpretation, and representation of tribal interest on interagency fishery and environmental committees and organizations. CORA member tribes are: Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa Ottawa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
a. Serve of the center for compilation and analysis of treaty commercial and subsistence fishery catch statistics, in order to meet legal harvest reporting obligations.
b. Conduct necessary field studies to effectively assess the status of fish populations within the 1836 treaty-ceded waters of the Great Lakes.
c. Analyze catch and assessment data to determine population status (e.g. age class composition, mortality rates) for use in estimation optimum harvest levels and developing multi-species management and regulatory strategies. Fish population status and associated harvest policies will be augmented by additional research as necessary.
d. Represent the Sault Tribe on the Technical Fisheries Committee (TFC) formally established by the 2000 Consent Decree. The TFC is tasked to evaluate the status of the fish stocks in the treaty-ceded waters of the Great Lakes and make recommendations regarding appropriate harvest levels for certain species. The TFC is also tasked with a variety of other duties outlined in the Consent Decree.
e. Represent CORA on numerous standing committees organized under the auspices of the Great Lakes
Fishery Commission. Participation in this organization is pursuant to CORA’s membership in the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries. All Great Lakes fishery agencies have signed on to the joint plan, which provides a forum for inter-governmental management of fishery resources and provides each agency an equal voice in lakewide management.
f. Undertake research or develop programs related to the enhancement of treaty fishing opportunities. Assist other ITFAP departments in fisheries enhancement activities.
g. Assist the tribes in a variety other issues related to the Great Lakes fishery and environmental resources.
Great Lakes Environmental (Fisheries)
ITFAP addresses environmental issues that are related to the tribes’ Great Lakes fishery-related interests. These activities include representing CORA on various international, inter-agency committees and organizations; conducting fish contaminant studies and establish a database on fish contaminant research; and participating in activities related to fish consumption advisories and educational materials.
Fisheries Enhancement (Hatchery)
To develop the capability to enhance tribal fishing opportunities through the hatchery culture and stocking of various fish species and the management of non-traditional fish species.
a. Operate and maintain two walleye hatchery facilities — the Nunns Creek Hatchery Facility and the Barbeaux Facility — and the associated walleye rearing ponds near Barbeau, Mich.
b.Provide an epicenter for enhancement of commercial salmon harvesting opportunities, including maintaining a mechanism to block, harvest and collect biological information on returning adult salmon at the Nunns Creek Facility.
c. Conduct assessment and research related to fish stocking programs, which includes assessment of post-stocking survival; contribution of hatchery fish to the tribal fisheries (commercial, subsistence and sport); improvement of fish culture practices; and fish disease prevention.
d. Represent tribal interests on inter-governmental technical committees related to fish culture or stocking activities, particularly in regard to fish disease and fish health issues.