Tribe says boat was too close to net, denies any responsibility for swamping
Written by Ludington Daily News   
Thursday, 09 June 2005 09:09
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians encourages boaters to follow Sea Grant Extension recommendations to stay 2,600 feet from net markers, and the tribe is taking no responsibility for the 17-foot fiberglass Crestliner boat that capsized Tuesday afternoon on Lake Michigan.

Joe Frontiera, of Hart, who was in the Crestliner with his brother, Sam Frontiera, of Ludington, on Wednesday blamed a tribal net for causing his boat to capsize and said he thinks the tribe?s nets are improperly marked.

Frontiera said he went one quarter of a mile around the net marker to avoid hitting the net.

A U.S. Coast Guard report confirms a tribal net was in the area where Frontiera?s boat capsized, but what the boat hit was not determined.

Glenn Zaring, public information director for the tribe, said that Sea Grant Extension recommendations state that boaters should go 2,600 feet around net markers, and that Frontiera was closer than that.

?Our nets are marked in excess of legal requirements and are located at positions provided through the sea grant,? Zaring said. ?I?m sorry the gentleman lost his equipment but our tribe is in no way responsible for the accident.

?Our treaty rights are firmly upheld in the courts and we plan to continue commercial fishing under those Chippewa Ottawa Research Authority regulations.?

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