A Wisconsin state lawmaker is making waves with a bill that would bar the sale and possession of walleye, mahi-mahi, and other Illinois fishing licenses in the state.
The proposal, introduced Thursday by Rep. David Eberhart (D), would make it a felony to possess any of the items listed on a Wisconsin license and would make any person who violates the law a first-degree felony.
Eberwald, a former state corrections commissioner, has been a vocal advocate for the sale ban, and he told Vice News in an interview on Thursday that he has not heard of any other state with a similar measure.
“I know Wisconsin.
I’ve been to Wisconsin,” he said.
“And I’m a diehard Wisconsiner.
We don’t allow it.
We’ve been doing it since I was a kid.
But I’ve never seen anything like this.
It really is.”
Eberhardt said that the bill would be “disastrous” for the industry, especially since the Illinois bill would only apply to those licenses that have been issued since April 1.
“It would be disastrous for Wisconsin.
We need more people in the fishing industry,” he told VICE News.
“We have enough people.
We can’t keep this up forever.”
Wisconsin currently allows a $15 minimum charge for walleyes and mahi, which is set to rise to $20 in June.
The bill, however, does not allow for walleys to be sold or possessed outside of Wisconsin.
“Walleye are the most expensive fish in the world,” Eberstein said.
“[They] are the best-quality fish and are a staple in the seafood industry in Wisconsin.
So this would be a big blow to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is one of the most economically depressed states in the country.
They’re really hurting.”
Ebersonhys bill is the latest in a series of anti-hunting bills that have swept the country in recent months.
Last month, a Florida judge upheld a $30 per day fine against a fisherman who caught a walleyer on his property.
The federal government also announced a crackdown on fishing in states that do not allow the sale or possession of the walley.
On Wednesday, a judge in Mississippi rejected a request by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove a state license from a woman who caught an illegal walley and was charged with the felony of unlawful possession of a prohibited species.
That same day, a Montana man was sentenced to a year in jail for violating the state’s fishing regulations, which ban the possession of fish without a license.
Last week, a Texas man was convicted for illegally possessing a walie in a fishing trip.
The Wisconsin bill, which has been referred to the Wisconsin State Assembly, would also require the Department of Natural Resources to submit reports on any violations of the law to the Department.