HOUGHTON - A local fisheries expert has been recently appointed to the international body overseeing the welfare of the Great Lakes.
Tom Rozich was nominated to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission as a sport fishery advisor in November and appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Rozich, a retired Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist from Houghton, will join the Lake Superior Committee of Advisors at its next meeting in March in Duluth, Minn.
The commission coordinates research, facilitates cooperation and implements programs related to the health of each of the five Great Lakes and the system as a whole and includes representatives from each state touching a Great Lake and corresponding Canadian provinces.
Rozich is familiar with the work of the commission, particularly on Lake Michigan, based on his time with the DNR.
"It'll be kind of like 'old home week,'" he joked.
The role of advisors is "to examine and be heard on all proposed recommendations, programs and activities relating to the (lake they represent)," according to the 1955 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries that established the commission. Sport fishing, commercial fishing, governmental agencies and the public at large from each state have a place at the table.
Rozich said he understands his role as being a liaison between the commission and the public.
"Say an issue came up ... I would then contact local groups that may be interested in that, any angling group I would consult with and say, 'This is the proposal, how do you feel?" he said.
Rozich is currently co-owner of the Copper Island Beach Club in Hancock and has been a member of the Lake Superior Fishery Citizen Advisory Committee, president of the Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, ad hoc advisor for the Copper Country Walleye Association and Pilgrim River Watershed Management Plan Parter for the Houghton/Keweenaw Conservation District. He also writes "Biological Bits," a monthly column on Copper Country-related fisheries issues in The Daily Mining Gazette.