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Tribal Code - Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Enacted July 5, 1995. Including Updates Through 2004.

CHAPTER 20: TREATY FISHING RULES AND REGULATIONS



20.101 Authority, Purpose and Scope.

(1) The following rules and regulations are hereby promulgated by the Board of Directors of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians pursuant to the powers contained in Article VII, Section 1 (j) of the Tribal Constitution.

(2) These rules govern fishing activity by members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in the waters ceded in the Treaty of March 28, 1836 except for fishing activity conducted pursuant to a license issued by the State of Michigan. They supplement the regulations contained in the Chippewa/Ottawa Treaty Fishing Management Authority Regulations.

(3) All prior treaty fishing regulations of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians are hereby repealed.

(4) Unless a contrary intent is indicated, terms used in these rules shall have the meaning employed in the Chippewa/Ottawa Treaty Fishing Management Authority Regulations.


20.102 Licensing of Commercial Treaty Fishing Activity.

(1) No member of the Tribe shall engage in commercial fishing activity without first having obtained a license from the Tribe to do so, in accordance with this section. A tribal license shall be evidenced by a Treaty Fishing Identification Card authorized by the Chairman.

(2) Two types of licenses may be issued:

(a) a commercial license which entitles the holder to operate a fishing boat, to fish on his own behalf, and employ helpers; and

(b) a helper's license, which entitles the holder to work as an employee or for shares on a boat operated by a licensed commercial fisherman.

(3) Licenses shall be issued under the supervision of the Tribal Chairman in accordance with these rules and any subsequent enactments of the Tribal Board of Directors. They shall expire on December 31st of each year.

(4) The fees for the issuance of tribal commercial fishing licenses shall be as follows:

(a) A fee of $25.00 for a helper on a boat owned by a licensed commercial fisherman.

(b) A fee of $50.00 for a fisherman fishing without a boat or with a boat not exceeding twenty-five feet in length.

(c) A fee of $75.00 for a fisherman fishing with a boat twenty-five feet to forty feet in length.

(d) A fee of $100.00 for a fisherman fishing with a boat in excess of forty feet in length.

(e) No fee shall be charged for issuance of a helper's license if a licensed commercial fisherman surrenders the unexpired Treaty Fishing Identification Card of a former employee in lieu thereof.

(f) All boats that do not have United States Coast Guard documentation will be measured by the Tribe from the bow to the stern straight down the middle.

(5) The age requirement for issuance of tribal commercial fishing licenses shall be as follows:

(a) A member eighteen year of age or older shall be eligible for a tribal fishing license if available.

(b) A member sixteen to eighteen years of age shall be eligible for a helpers license only with the written consent of a parent or guardian and approval by the Tribal Board of Directors.

(c) A member, under the age of 16, may fish with an immediate family member, who is a licensed fisherman, with the written consent of a parent or guardian and approved by the Tribal Board of Directors. The minor can only fish during non school hours.

(6) A license issued pursuant to sub. (4)(c) or (d) hereof also authorizes holder to operate a fishing boat of twenty feet or less.

(7) A commercial fishing license may identify two partners and co-operators of a licensed boat.

(8) Issuance of new commercial fishing licenses is closed unless opened by action of the Tribal Board of Directors.

(a) A license shall not be issued to a person who was unlicensed in the previous year.

(b) No license renewed by a licensed fisherman shall authorize the size of a larger boat than licensed the previous year.

(c) A licensee who leaves the area for purposes of military service may renew his license notwithstanding the provision of sub. (a), within one year of leaving the service.

(9) A tribal commercial fishing license may be passed on only to the natural son or daughter, spouse or husband as authorized by the Tribal Board of Directors.

(10) Any Sault Ste. Marie tribal license holder who fails to renew his tribal treaty fishing license for a period of one (1) year shall not thereafter be relicensed.

(11) The provisions of sub. (8), (9) and (10) do not restrict issuance of helpers cards.

(12) Licensing of tribal fishing enterprises may be authorized by the Tribal Board of Directors.

(13) The Chairman with the consent of the Board of Directors may approve the transfer of a Commercial fishing license holder to an eligible Tribal member, upon recommendation of the Conservation Committee if:

(a) The license holder or his heirs has filed notice with the Conservation Committee

of his intent to sell his fishing equipment.

(b) The license holder or his heirs has sold his fishing equipment to the transferee.

(c) If the license holder or his heirs have filed official notice of intent to sell his fishing equipment and a sale has not been finalized within 3 years from the date of notice, the license shall revert back to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians .


20.103 Suspension and Revocation of Licenses.

Any tribal license may be suspended by order of the Tribal Chairman upon reasonable notice, when any license fee, fine or court costs, or other fishery-related financial obligation owed to the Tribe is overdue and unpaid. During any period of suspension the fisherman shall be deemed to be unlicensed by the Tribe for all purposes, and his Treaty Fishing Identification Card shall be subject to seizure.


20.104 Limitations on the Use of Tribal Licenses.

(1) No licensee of the Tribe shall fish as an employee of or for shares with a person not licensed to exercise treaty fishing rights. This section shall be liberally interpreted to prohibit a licensee from exercising treaty rights for the benefit of non-Indian entrepreneurs.

(2) A helper may fish only in the presence of his employer, save in exceptional circumstances of a temporary nature which prevent the employer from being present in the boat.


20.105 Requirement of Safety Vests.

All captains of the boats are to require their crew to wear the safety vests. If the vests are not worn, there will be the following penalties:

(1) First Offense- Warning.

(2) Second Offense- Minimum fine of $25.00.

(3) Third Offense-Minimum fine of $75.00.

(4) Fourth Offense- Minimum fine of $150.00.

(5) Fifth Offense-Judge's discretion.


20.106 Temporary Licensing of Alternate Captains

(1) The Conservation Committee can approve the licensing of alternate captains for any licensed fisherman on a temporary basis.

(2) An alternate captain can be licensed when the Conservation Committee determines that the licensed fisherman is unable to perform the duties of captain because of a temporary illness or injury. The licensed fisherman must provide documentation that he or she is unable to perform the duties of captain as a result of the illness or injury.

(3) An alternate captain can be licensed when the Conservation Committee determines that the licensed fisherman is unable to perform the duties of captain because he is temporarily out of the area for purposes of education or military service.

(4) An alternate captain shall be licensed for one year. If the circumstances giving rise to the need for the alternate captain is for a longer duration, the Conservation Committee may relicense the alternate captain. However, the licensed fisherman will need to provide the Conservation Committee with further documentation concerning the illness, injury or other circumstance.


20.107 Subsistence Fishing Rules.

(1) This section governs subsistence fishing activity by members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

(a) Fishing activity means fishing for, catching, taking or attempting to fish or catch, or take any species of fish from treaty waters, and includes all related activities which occur in or on the water, and the process of loading or unloading fish, nets, or related gear, in or from a boat.

(b) No member fishing for subsistence shall sell or offer for sale any species of fish.

(2) Gear used for subsistence fishing shall comply with the following:

(a) Subsistence fishing activity means fishing with a hook and line, spear or a single gill net not exceeding 300 feet in length for personal and family use and not for sale or exchange.

(b) Subsistence nets in the St. Mary's River system shall not exceed 100 feet in length.

(3) Subsistence fishing shall be subject to the following regulations:

(a) Any tribal member regardless of age shall have in his possession a valid tribal identification card while engaged in subsistence fishing activity. A member using a gill net for subsistence purposes shall have in his possession a netting permit issued pursuant to sub. (4).

(b) A tribal member shall have in his possession a valid tribal subsistence netting permit while engaged in subsistence fishing activity with a net.

(c) A tribal member engaged in subsistence netting activity may be assisted by a member of his/her family or household.

(d) No subsistence netting permit shall be issued to a member of a household if any member of the household possesses a state commercial fishing license, a tribal commercial fishing license or helpers license, or a subsistence netting permit.

(e) No tribal member shall engage in subsistence fishing while in possession of a tribal identification card issued to another member.

(f) No tribal member shall sell, give or lend his/her tribal identification card to another person.

(g) No member possessing a subsistence fishing license shall sell, offer to sell, or exchange (barter) fish or fish parts.

(h) Fish captured by subsistence fishers shall not be used for any purpose other than consumption by themselves or their families.

(I) Possession of more than 100 pounds of fish based on the combined weight of all species by a subsistence fisher in any one day is strictly prohibited.

(4) A subsistence netting permit shall be issued to a tribal member upon application and payment of an annual fee, which may be waived by the Tribal Chairman for those who are unable to pay, senior citizens (55 years of age or older) and handicapped. Issuance of permits and netting are subject to the following conditions:

(a) Each applicant for a subsistence netting permit shall identify the location of fishing activity sufficiently in his application to permit conservation officers to locate and identify the net.

(b) Each net in subsistence netting shall be marked with a buoy bearing the subsistence netting permit number of the user.

(c) No subsistence gill net shall be set within 50 feet of another gill net.

(d) Each subsistence netting permittee is required to report his catch on forms provided by the Tribe, and shall verbally report his catch to a tribal conservation officer upon request.

(5) Non-snagging areas may be designated in accordance with this section.

(a) The Tribal Chairman may designate specific areas within the boundaries of any city, village or town as non-snagging areas, provided that notice of such designation is posted and published at least twice.

(b) Within any areas designated as a non-snagging area, it shall be a violation of these rules for any Tribal member to snag or attempt to snag any fish, and the possession of snagging gear in such areas is also prohibited.

(c) "Snagging" as used in this rule is defined to mean the taking or the attempt to take fish by hook, either barbed or unbarbed, through penetration of some part of the fish's body other than the mouth. "Snagging gear" as used in this rule means any pointed hook, barbed or unbarbed, attached to a line or pole in such manner that the weight or sinker is on or below the shank of the hook, or any hook used without bait or lure for fishing.

(6) No member shall unreasonably waste, injure or destroy, or impair fish resources while engaged in subsistence fishing activities.


20.108 [RESERVED FOR FUTURE USE]


20.109 Immunity of Tribal Officers.

Tribal conservation officers, tribal employees, tribal judicial officers, tribal attorneys, and the Tribal Board of Directors, shall be immune from civil liability for acts committed in connection with the enforcement of tribal or federal conservation laws and regulations.


20.110 Violations.

Fishing activity conducted contrary to these rules, or contrary to the terms of any license or permit issued by the Tribe, shall constitute a violation of these rules. Violations shall be subject to the penalties provided for in the rules of the Chippewa/Ottawa Treaty Fishery Management Authority.


20.111 Jurisdiction.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribal Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any violation of these rules and regulations alleged to have been committed by a tribal member.


20.112 Fishing Vessel Equipment Requirements.

In order to protect members engaged in commercial fishing from potential death, personal injury and property damage which are risks of said activity, any vessel used for commercial fishing purposes in the ceded waters and owned or operated by a tribal member shall carry the following equipment:

(1) Lights. Affixed to the vessel shall be an all around light and a bow-placed dual light which has a red beam on the port side and a green beam on the starboard side, each of which are of sufficient intensity to be visible at a minimum range of two (2) miles.

(2) Visual distress signals. The vessel shall carry:

(a) a distress signal kit (Coast Guard approval series 160-066-8-0), which contains three (3) hand flares, a dye maker, and one (1) distress flag, which is orange-colored conavase with a black square and circle; and

(b) a water proof flashlight.

(3) Personal flotation devices. The vessel shall carry:

(a) a ring life buoy at least 20 inches in size, or a buoyant boat cushion (Coast Guard approved, Type IV PFD), with 60 feet of line attached; and

(b) one (1) life jacket or vest (Coast Guard approved Type I or Type II PFD) for each person on the vessel which has attached thereto a Coast Guard approve light.

(4) Survival craft. Any vessel which carries a crew of four (4) or more persons shall contain a buoyant apparatus, or shall, when underway, maintain an auxiliary fishing craft which is an integral and necessary element of the vessel's normal fishing operations.


20.113 Additional Equipment Requirements for Vessels 26 feet in Length or Larger:

Any commercial fishing vessel which is 26 feet or more in length shall also carry the following equipment:

(1) Fire extinguisher. One (1) B-II or two (2) B-I hand portable fire extinguisher.

(2) Radio. A VHF marine radio for which the vessel owner has a license from the Federal Communications Commission.

(3) Horn or whistle. A foghorn or whistle of sufficient volume to ensure audibility within one (1) nautical mile of the vessel.

(4) Ring life buoy. A ring life buoy at least 24 inches in size with 60 feet of line attached, in place of the smaller ring buoy required in '20.112 (3)(a).


20.114 Additional Equipment Requirements for Vessels 40 feet in Length or Larger.

Any commercial fishing vessel which is 40 feet or more in length shall carry the following equipment, in addition to those requirements contained in '20.112 and '20.113 shall also carry one (1) B-1 or B-2 hand portable fire extinguisher mounted in a bracket in the machinery space area of the vessel.


20.115 Dockside Inspection.

Any vessel utilized for commercial fishing activities shall be inspected by enforcement personnel at dockside every two (2) years. Proof of inspection shall be demonstrated by the affixing by enforcement personnel to the vessel's outer hull a Coast Guard approved decal.


20.116 Enforcement by U.S. Coast Guard.

United States Coast Guard personnel are authorized to enforce the provisions of ''20.112- 20.115 of this Code against members of the Tribe and to cite violations to the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribal Court.


20.117 Penalties for Violation.

(1) Termination of voyage. A vessel which does not carry any one of the required safety equipment items listed in ''20.112-20.115 may at the discretion of the enforcement officer, be directed to shore and no person may thereafter operate the vessel for any other purpose but to attain landing.

(2) Civil remedial penalties. The owner of a vessel shall be cited for any violations of ''20.112-20.115, and may be subject to a civil remedial money penalty for each violation of not more than $250.00.

(3) Vessel use restrictions. No vessel may be utilized for commercial fishing which has been found to violate '20.112-20.115 until its owner provides documentation to the Court that the violation has been remedied through acquisition of the lacking equipment.


20.118 Escrow of License.

(1) The Conservation Committee may hold a commercial fishing license in escrow for a minor child of a licensed commercial fisherman in cases where the commercial fisherman is deceased or seriously injured.

(2) A commercial fishing license will be held in escrow until the minor child reaches the age of 24 years old. Once the child reaches the age of 18 years, the license may be issued in the child's name upon request. If the child does not request to have the license issued by the time the child reaches 24 years of age, the license will revert to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians .


20.119 Ice Fishing Regulations.

(1) No member may be allowed to fish with more than 10 tip-ups at one time.

(2) Each tip-up must be clearly marked with the member's name and address.

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