Category Archives: Law Enforcement Committee Meeting

Bichirs are Bizarre

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Lake Committee Meetings: Round 2

I drove from East Lansing to Ann Arbor, Michigan this week to attend part of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Lake Committee Meetings for a second time as a Fenske Fellow. If you are interested in reading a fuller description of what goes on during the Lake Committee Meeting, please refer to “Law and Order and Fish.”

Law Enforcement Committee Mid-Annual Meeting

As you may recall, the Law Enforcement Committee holds its mid-annual meeting during the Lake Committee Meeting. The Law Enforcement Committee often organizes a training or workshop to correspond with their meeting as a way to build skills and increase proficiencies among the committee members. This week, the committee organized an invasive species training at the University of Michigan. The objective of the training was to instruct the committee members on the proper identification of common aquatic invasive fish species that can occur, or are expected to occur, in the Great Lakes Basin. As anyone who has taken an ichthyology class knows, fish identification is often difficult because many fish species look familiar (especially at a young age!). Our training leader, Dr. Kevin Wehrly (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), laid out several preserved aquatic invasive species for us to touch and observe. We were also given books and short summaries to read that provided helpful identification information. Though the carp species were relatively easy to identify, I had difficulty differentiating among the rudd, goldfish, and more common golden shiner. I particularly enjoyed observing the snakehead. In this training, the snakehead was contrasted with a bichir or reedfish, which is native to Africa and the Nile River.


Can you identify the species? (From T to B) Northern snakehead (Channa argus), bowfin (Amia calva), and a bichir or reedfish (Polypteridae). Photo credit: Molly J. Good

After the training, Doug Nelson, the Collection Manager at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology (UMMZ), gave us a tour of the facility. The UMMZ maintains incredible zoological collections for use in research, outreach, and education. According to the UMMZ website, the collections (P.S., Can you find me on the homepage?) include about 15 million specimens total, comprised of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, fishes (3.3 million specimens, representing 90% of all orders!), mollusks, mites, and insects.


The view down one of the hallways in the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology Collections facility. Photo credit: Molly J. Good


Reptile specimens! Photo credit: Molly J. Good


The results of my aquatic invasive species identification quiz. I think I got a 100%! Photo credit: Molly J. Good

LESSON #15: If it is difficult for fisheries scientist to identify a fish, then it probably even more difficult for a member of the general public to identify a fish.

LESSON #16: Workshops and trainings are essential in building skills and improving proficiencies.

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Law and Order and Fish

Windsor, Ontario

Lake Committee Meetings: Round 1

From Tuesday, March 25 through Thursday, March 26, I attended the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Lake Committee Meetings in Windsor, Ontario. The Lake Committee Meetings primarily serve as a forum for fishery management agencies to come together and assess the state of fish communities, discuss Great Lakes issues, and plan for future management activities. Many of these meetings are open to the public.

Law Enforcement Committee Mid-Annual Meeting

The GLFC Law Enforcement Committee holds their mid-annual meeting during the Lake Committee Meetings. The Law Enforcement Committee helps facilitate coordinated fishery management through A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries. The committee is charged with protecting, enhancing, and promoting the safe use of natural resources in the Great Lakes Basin. Mark Robbins (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) is the current chair of the Law Enforcement Committee. The committee is uniquely composed of representatives from each natural resource agency with enforcement power in the Great Lakes Basin, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and others.

As a disclaimer, private, undisclosed information is frequently discussed during the Law Enforcement Committee Meeting. Therefore, it is impossible for me to share all of my observations and reflections from this meeting with you. I can share that I was most interested in a presentation regarding a new concept for standardizing collected data and information across all natural resource agencies in the basin. Apparently, each natural resource agency has their own, individual methodology for collecting, organizing, and storing their enforcement data. As a result, it can be difficult for natural resource agencies and enforcement officers to locate helpful data from other agency data and information systems. A more standardized system, used by all natural resource agencies, would likely be easier to navigate and work with across multiple jurisdictions.

LESSON #4: The GLFC Law Enforcement Committee Meetings are critical because they bring together enforcement officers from all natural resource agencies in the Great Lakes Basin.

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