Originally posted by: Celliach on 11/18/2005 11:47:05 AM
Found this while surfing the net this morning. Thought it might be of interest.
Chinook Salmon Reduction in Lake Michigan
Release Date: 11/17/2005
SPRINGFIELD - State Fisheries management agencies for Lake Michigan are implementing a 25 percent lake-wide stocking reduction of Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan. Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana will reduce the number of Chinook salmon spring fingerlings they stock by approximately one million beginning in spring 2006. The Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) is also a partner management agency but does not stock salmon. CORA does not object to the stocking reductions proposed by the State agencies, but has voiced concerns that such reductions may allow alewife to increase, potentially impeding rehabilitation of lake trout and other native species.
Jim Dexter of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, representing the Management agencies as chair of the Lake Michigan Committee said, â€œThis action has strong support from the angling community which recognized the need to be proactive in order to meet most of our objectives. By reducing predator abundance to better balance the fish community, especially available prey, the agencies anticipate better results for ecosystem management, including rehabilitation of native species.â€
The agencies provided several opportunities for public input throughout the year beginning with a full scientific review of lake-wide data at a spring conference in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Other opportunities for public involvement included agency held meetings, print, radio and web-based media, and a final conference held September 24 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Anglers suggested increasing the bag limit for Chinook salmon as a way to reduce the number of predators in the lake. Fisheries managers, however, pointed out that increasing the bag limit for this type of fishery doesnâ€™t have much of an impact on the population and therefore doesnâ€™t substantially reduce the abundance of alewife. Bag limits differ among states, and unlike stocking levels; it is not usually subject to inter-state negotiations.
Anglers were concerned about where stocking reductions would actually occur, noting that certain areas in the basin have good natural reproduction of Chinook salmon. Anglers were also concerned about maintaining diverse fisheries, including fall fisheries where salmon return to sites where they were stocked. Agencies will be considering these concerns as they develop site-specific reduction targets. Many anglers also called for increased stocking efforts of other salmon and trout species that do not impact alewife populations to the same extent as Chinook salmon. Jim Dexter commented that while this is a reasonable request, these other species have much longer rearing cycles in a hatchery compared to Chinook salmon, and thus the agencies abilities to produce additional fish are constrained by hatchery capacity issues.
â€œReducing the number of Chinook salmon we stock in Lake Michigan will help bring the predator-prey relationship into balance,â€ said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. â€œThis balance will prevent the Chinook salmon from outstripping its food supply and will help ensure good fishing for years to come.â€
In general, the public agreed with the 25 percent reduction in Chinook salmon stocking lake-wide, which agencies are now implementing. Each state will develop specific tactics for meeting the stocking reduction goal and achieving desired objectives. In order to meet the 25 percent lake-wide reduction, Michigan has agreed to a 30 percent reduction in its annual production, 21 percent in Wisconsin, 17 percent for Illinois and 12 percent in Indiana. Michigan is taking a larger portion of the lake-wide cut because its rivers provide the bulk of the naturally produced salmon found in Lake Michigan. It is expected that all agencies will have tactical plans in place by early winter.
Source: Illinois Department of Natural Resources