Great Lakes Net Pen General Permit Proposals

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A proposed general permit that would make it quicker and easier for nonprofit organizations to raise and more safely stock fish in the Great Lakes will be the topic of two public hearings set for February and a public comment period open through March 14.

The proposal creates a general permit to allow net pens to be placed in Lake Michigan or Lake Superior or their tributaries to hold or raise fish for noncommercial purposes.

In the Great Lakes, net pens are used to hold salmon, trout, and other species prior to stocking. Two primary reasons for net pen use are to reduce predation by birds and predator fish and to help fish acclimate to their environment before being releaseed into the wild.

Net pens are also used to help salmon and some trout fish imprint on a particular water body to increase the return rate to that stream or harbor during spawning runs.

Comments on the proposed statewide general permit are being accepted through March 14, 2014. The general permit includes several location standards, such as providing standards for net pen placement within a narrow thoroughfare or near bridges, swimming areas, etc., and also technical standards to ensure minimal impacts to public rights.

The proposed general permit and environmental assessment documents can be reviewed at: or

Informational hearings are set for Green Bay and Ashland at the following dates and locations.

Green Bay, Feb. 21, 1 p.m., DNR Service Center, The Lake Michigan Room, 2984 Shawano Ave.

Ashland, Feb. 28, 11 a.m., DNR Satellite Center, 2501 Golf Course Road.

source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources