Grant lets Red Lake band open a commercial fishery 4-10-07

RED LAKE, Minn. (AP) - The Red Lake band of Chippewa is planning to open a commercial walleye processing plant in June thanks to a $1 million grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

Red Lake Chairman Floyd ``Buck'' Jourdain Jr. said the band will open the Redby plant where tribal members will fillet and freeze the catch themselves.

The operation would be part of Red Lake Foods, which already sells wild berry jams and syrups and wild rice.

Jourdain said only hook and line fishing would be allowed for at least the first two or three years. The walleye catch limit, which was 10 fish per day on tribal waters in 2006, may be raised, but the harvest would not exceed the band's total quota, he said.

The band controls all of Lower Red Lake and roughly 60 percent of Upper Red Lake. Only band members are permitted to keep fish caught in tribal waters.

In the mid1990s, walleye populations in Red Lake declined dramatically, leading to a ban on commercial fishing. In 1999, the band entered a 10year agreement with the state of Minnesota and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to restore the fishery. Walleye fishing on Red Lake resumed last spring.