Tag Archives: Law Enforcement Committee

Finding Inspiration

Windsor, Ontario

Law Enforcement Committee Annual Meeting

I was eager to give the Law Enforcement Committee members a synopsis of my symposium at the 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting last month. I described the objectives and structure of the symposium in addition to comments and questions generated by the audience. The committee members were pleased that they were well-represented at the fisheries meeting. The members also recognized the importance of maintaining this type of representation and exposure at future fisheries meetings. The committee members made me feel like my Fenske Fellowship project has been successful thus far. I think they are looking forward to see what we can do together in the future.

Sometimes I wonder if my research is going to produce meaningful results; results that can be used and will actually impact something or someone. Sitting in this meeting and listening to the questions, concerns, and stories discussed by the committee members reaffirmed, for me, that my research is important. I think I am finally at the point where I can successfully define meaningful research objectives and goals – without the experiences the Fenske Fellowship has provided for me, I fear this realization may have never come.

We ended the Law Enforcement Committee Meeting with another training. The objective of this training was to instruct the committee members on the proper identification of turtle species in the Great Lakes Basin Region. I do not encounter turtles very often in my research, so the species identification was difficult for me. My favorite turtle was the snapping turtle, mainly because it was the largest and most active of those we observed.

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A common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentine). Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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A wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta). Photo credit: Molly J. Good

LESSON #25: Fisheries law enforcement is just one component of fisheries management. All components must collaborate and work together to implement effective fisheries management.

LESSON #26: The GLFC Law Enforcement Committee is interested in learning about how it can improve fisheries law enforcement on a basin-wide scale.

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Presenting in Portland

Portland, Oregon

I just came back from the 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. The meeting was spectacular and I made a lot of progress on my Fenske Fellowship work.

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A nice, warm welcome from the city of Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

On Monday, August 17, 2015, I gave the first presentation in my symposium entitled, “Fisheries Sustainability, Crime, and Enforcement: Whodunnit and How Do We Manage It?” Ten other presentations followed after mine. The symposium session was extremely well-attended, with approximately 20-40 individuals present at any one time, and each presenter was challenged with some excellent questions. I think we were successful in raising the profile of fisheries law enforcement on a national scale, and I am eager to pull together the research findings from this symposium into a manuscript for Fisheries Magazine. For a copy of any presentation in this symposium, please contact me at goodmoll@msu.edu.

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Enforcement Officer Mark Robbins presenting the last talk in this symposium, entitled, “Fisheries for the Future: How Can Law Enforcement Help Us Get There?” Photo credit: Molly J. Good

On Thursday, August 20, 2015, I showed a brief video entitled, “Legally Licensed: The Conservation Benefits of Buying a Fishing License” in the first AFS Film Festival. The idea for this video originated in one of the earlier meetings I participated in with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Law Enforcement Committee.

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A snapshot of my brief video. If you would like to see the full version, please e-mail me at goodmoll@msu.edu. Photo credit: Steven Good

Lastly, I organized another Fenske Fellows get-together for the Fenske Fellowship Committee and past fellows. Fenske Fellowship Committee members Gary Whelan (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), Jess Mistak (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), Dr. Dana Infante (Michigan State University), and Fenske Fellows, Dr. Abigail Lynch (United States Geological Survey), Hanna Kruckman (Eastern Illinois University), Dr. Amy Schueller (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), me, and Andrew Carlson dined at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Portland.

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(From L to R) Dr. Abigail Lynch, Hanna Kruckman, Jess Mistak, Molly Good, Andrew Carlson, Gary Whelan, Dr. Dana Infante, Elle Gulotty, Dr. Amy Schueller, and Ray Schueller.

LESSON #22: Nationally, law enforcement officers experience challenges in effective collaboration.

LESSON #23: Law enforcement success or effectiveness is hard to quantify.

LESSON #24: It is possible for your purse to be stolen anywhere, even in nice hotels.

View Molly’s presentation, “Law Enforcement: A Critical Management Tool for Ensuring Fisheries Sustainability,” given the American Fisheries Society Meeting here.

View Molly’s summary of the AFS Law Enforcement Symposium entitled, “Fisheries Sustainability, Crime, and Enforcement: Whodunnit and How Do We Manage It?” here. This summary appeared in Fisheries magazine in December, 2015.

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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.

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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.

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

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Reptile specimens! Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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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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The In-Crowd

Sandusky, Ohio

Law Enforcement Committee Annual Meeting

The Law Enforcement Committee holds its own Annual Meeting in the fall – getting lost yet? Kevin Ramsey (Law Enforcement Specialist) invited me to attend this meeting. He also asked that I prepare a brief presentation to serve as an introduction and explanation of my research interests. I approached the development of this presentation in a thoughtful way because I was initially concerned about how the Law Enforcement Committee members would perceive me. To them, I am an outsider. I do not have the same educational background, training, and real-life experiences as these committee members. I was worried that the committee members would be distrustful of me as a researcher and, thus, fail to fully include me in their discussions.

I was anxious to introduce myself. However, I was surprised to find out that the committee members were interested in my research interests and were curious about how I planned to interact with them during the next year. I answered a few basic questions and the meeting continued normally. I talked more with the Law Enforcement Committee members later that evening at our reception.

The Law Enforcement Committee’s Annual Meeting was exciting. I heard a series of presentations detailing illegal fishing activities and explaining how these activities were monitored and eventually controlled. From what I gathered, major enforcement issues in the Great Lakes Basin currently involve the transportation and introduction of aquatic invasive species. Aquatic invasive species or AIS are species that are not native to the aquatic environment, and whose introduction either causes or is likely to cause detrimental effects on the economy, environment, and human health. Common AIS in the Great Lakes Basin include Asian carp, sea lamprey, zebra mussels, and Eurasian Watermilfoil. The Law Enforcement Committee is particularly concerned about AIS coming into the Great Lakes via baitfish collection, sales, and dumping.

I left the Law Enforcement Committee’s Annual Meeting feeling encouraged and motivated to continue working with them in the future.

LESSON #7: Representation from and collaboration among all sectors – federal, state, provincial, tribal, etc. – is essential for effective information-sharing and the development of new and improved management tools and strategies.

View Molly’s presentation to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Law Enforcement Committee here.

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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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