Week of April 9, 2007

Beyond the Great lakes

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Beyond the Great Lakes

NJ Senators want restrictions to fish artificial reefs

Only recreational fishermen could fish at artificial reefs off New Jersey's coast, under state legislation introduced by two state senators last week.   The bill also would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to ask the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to designate New Jersey

artificial reefs in federal waters as special management

zones, the Senate statement says.

 

Should similar restrictions be sought for the Great Lakes reefs?  How many states have commercial restrictions around their fishing reefs?


World

An Omega-3 Fatty Acid may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease

Local NIH-supported researchers participate in nationwide trial

Nutritionists have long endorsed fish as part of a heart-healthy diet, and now some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil of certain fish may also benefit the brain by lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease. In order to test whether docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can impact the progression of Alzheimer's disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and Saint Louis University School of Medicine will evaluate DHA in a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

 

The local effort is part of a nationwide consortium of leading Alzheimer's disease researchers supported by the NIA and coordinated by the University of California, San Diego. The trial will take place at 52 sites across the United States. It seeks 400 participants age 50 and older with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Joseph Quinn, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Oregon Health and Science University, is directing the national study. James Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., at Washington University School of Medicine, and George Grossberg, M.D., at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, will conduct the study locally.

 

Researchers will primarily evaluate whether taking DHA over many months slows both cognitive and functional decline in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. During the 18-month clinical trial, investigators will measure the progress of the disease using standard tests for functional and cognitive change.

 

"Evidence to date in various research studies that have

examined the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on Alzheimer's disease merits further evaluation in a rigorous clinical trial," Galvin says. "Our hope is that we may find out that DHA plays a role in slowing the progression of this destructive disease."

 

In recent European studies and the Framingham Heart Study, scientists reported that people with the highest blood levels of DHA were about half as likely to develop dementia as those with lower levels. "Study volunteers will be critical to helping us find out if DHA can make an impact on the disease process," Grossberg says.

 

For the clinical trial the Martek Biosciences Corporation of Columbia, Md., will donate a pure form of DHA made from algae devoid of fish-related contaminants. Participants will receive either two grams of DHA per day or an inactive placebo pill. About 60 percent of participants will receive DHA, and 40 percent will get the placebo. Doctors and nurses at the 52 research clinic sites will monitor the participants in regular visits throughout the trial. To ensure unbiased results, neither the researchers conducting the trial nor the participants will know who is getting DHA and who is receiving the placebo.

 

In addition to monitoring disease progression through cognitive tests, researchers will also evaluate whether taking DHA supplements has a positive effect on physical and biological markers of Alzheimer's, such as brain atrophy and proteins in blood and spinal fluid.

 

To learn how to participate in the study, call (314) 286-2683 at Washington U. School of Medicine or (314) 268-5385 at St Louis U. School of Medicine. http://mednews.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/9114.html       http://mednews.wustl.edu/


National

Boy Scouts defeat ACLU

Court dismisses suit to bar use of military fort, Pentagon-Jamboree Ties Allowed

A federal appellate court April 4 ruled that the Pentagon can continue its financial support of the decades-old National Boy Scout Jamboree, which the Defense Dept. sees as a useful recruiting and training tool. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the Defense Department from allowing the Boy Scouts of America to hold its National Jamboree every four years at Fort A.P. Hill in Fredericksburg, Va.

 

Two Chicago-area religious leaders, represented by the ACLU, had sued the Pentagon, claiming the event should not receive public support because Scouts are required to swear an oath to "do my duty to God and my country." In 2005, 90 members of Congress filed a federal appeals court brief declaring support for the Defense Department's sponsorship of the jamboree. The brief asserted the Defense Department's support comes in the form of "non-religious supplies and services."

 

The Court ruled that the plaintiffs didn't have standing to challenge the 1972 Jamboree Statute, which authorized government backing of the 70-year-old gathering at the Army's Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green, Va. The appellate court reversed a lower-court ruling and ordered the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that the statute is not the kind of "taxing and spending" legislation suitable for a taxpayer to

challenge.

 

"Even assuming that it is correct to characterize the BSA as a 'religious' organization, this statute is for the purpose of assisting the military in persuading a new generation to join its ranks and in building good will. This is a secular and valid purpose," the court wrote.

 

Since 1937, Scouts from across the country have gathered at the Army base typically every four years for the jamboree -- a 10-day outing where the boys participate in canoeing, fishing, scuba diving and other activities. The military assists by providing manpower, equipment, cookie dough -- and cash.

 

The Boy Scouts received about $7 million in support from the Defense Department for the 2005 jamboree. More than 40,000 Boy Scouts attended, pumping an estimated $17 million into the economy in Virginia, where the event is held. The Boy Scouts, who were not directly involved in the litigation, have said Scouts are not required to pray or attend church at the jamboree. The next jamboree is planned for 2010 to coincide with the organization's 100th anniversary.

 

A lower court ruled in 2005 that the Pentagon's support of an organization that requires its members to pledge a "duty to God" was unconstitutional.  The threat of lawsuits by the ACLU has forced the BSA to pull the charters of thousands of scouting units from public schools.


Kids can apply now for All-American Fishing Team, due July 14

TULSA, Okla -- Hooked On Fishing International (HOFI) is now accepting applications for the 2007 Kids All-American Fishing Team. In its third year, the youth angler ambassador program awards $5,000 scholarships and prizes to each of six exemplary youngsters who show just as much passion for school and community citizenship as they do for fishing.

 

The KAAF Team Scholarship and Ambassador Program is open to kids nationwide, ages 8-14.  While only six will be chosen to represent the 2007 team, every youngster who submits a complete application will receive a free, colorful Kids All-American Fishing t-shirt featuring Sebastian T. Bobber, the "Official Spokesbobber for Youth Fishing."

 

Team selection is based on exceptional school and community involvement, which can include helping with neighborhood food drives, heading a litter clean-up campaign and participating in service and leadership organizations.  Former KAAF Team Ambassadors have been involved in organizations such as Boy and Girl Scouts of America, community support efforts, and fundraising activities like the American Heart Association's "Jump for Heart!." 

 

The application process is easy and much of it can be completed on-line. Visit the program's Web site, www.kids-fishing.com, and click on the "KAAF Team Program" button to start the process, download a printable application or view eligibility requirements.  Applications must be received or

postmarked by July 14, 2007, to be eligible.

 

KAAF Team selection will be administered by an independent review committee. The six young anglers named to the KAAF Team will be announced in August 2007.  Through their example, they will serve as ambassadors for one full year.  With the honor comes a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond for use in current or future education, a pro angler-style fishing team jersey and a team trophy.

 

Winners will be presented with the scholarship and prizes at ceremonies held at the nearest Wal-Mart store in their respective hometowns.  Each All-American Team Ambassador also is invited and provided travel, with a parent, to participate in the Kids All-American Fishing Challenge and Family Fishing Festival held next summer. The event matches a KAAF Team Ambassador with a national fishing pro angler in a series of friendly-competition fishing contests.  A recognition reception will also be held in honor of those selected.

 

Additional information about the KAAF Team program is available at the more than 1,800 sanctioned Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing presented by Zebco on-water derbies scheduled for 2007.  Most are held in the month of June, National Kids Fishing Month. To find the closest KAAF derby, use the online derby locator found on the organization's Web site, www.kids-fishing.com .

 


Icebreaker Mackinaw now a Maritime Museum

The Icebreaker Mackinaw, following its decommissioning June 10, 2006 is now moored at its home in Mackinaw City, Mich. The ship is now operating as a public museum telling the story of its 62-year career breaking ice on the upper Great Lakes.

 

Contact information is below, including e-mail and web site.

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, Inc

P.O. Box 39, 131 S. Huron

Mackinaw City, Michigan 49701

(231) 436-9825

info@icebreakermackinawmuseum.org 

www.icebreakermackinawmuseum.org/

 


USFWS TO Distribute $600 Million to

State Wildlife Agencies

More than $349 million for Sport Fish Restoration apportionment

Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that more than $600 million will be distributed to 56 state and territorial wildlife agencies to fund conservation efforts, shooting ranges and hunter education. This funding results from an excise tax paid by firearm, ammunition, archery and angling equipment manufacturers as well as boat motor fuels through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration programs.

 

"Since establishment of these federal programs more than a half century ago, manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, archery, fishing and boating equipment have paid more than $10.5 billion in excise taxes, which has been used by state wildlife agencies to maintain and restore fish and wildlife resources, educate hunters and fund sport shooting ranges nationwide,” said Kempthorne.  "By paying these excise taxes, the manufacturers and sportsmen and women continue to provide critical funding for wildlife conservation in North America."

 

The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2007 totals nearly $267 million, with more than $50 million tagged for hunter education and shooting range programs.  The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2007 totals more than $349 million.  Federal Assistance funds pay up to 75 % of the cost of each eligible project while the states are required to contribute at least 25 %.

 

Wildlife Restoration Act funding is made available to states through a formula based on land area, including inland waters and the number of hunting license holders in each state. 

States use the money to manage wildlife populations, conduct habitat research, surveys and inventories, and administer hunter education programs. More than 62 % of Wildlife Restoration funds are used to buy, develop, maintain, and operate wildlife management areas.  Since the program began, 68 million acres of land have been purchased and more than 350 million acres managed for wildlife.

 

Numerous species such as the wild turkey, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, American elk and mountain lion have increased in population due to improved research and habitat management funded by Wildlife Restoration. In the program’s history, more than 9 million landowners were provided management assistance for wildlife and fish.  State wildlife agencies have improved more than 26 million acres of habitat and developed more than 43,000 acres of waterfowl impoundments.

 

Sport Fish Restoration is funded by the collection of excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats.   Sport Fish Restoration funds are allocated to the states based on a formula that includes the land and water area, inland waters and the Great Lakes and marine coastal areas where applicable, and the number of fishing license holders.  States use the funds to pay for stocking fish; acquiring and improving sport fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; and the construction at boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities for recreational boating access.

 

States have bought about 150,000 acres for public fishing areas and maintained more than 15 million acres since the program began.  Go to http://federalaid.fws.gov for state-by-state funding allocations.


Zumbo Letter to the U.S. Senate Opposing a Ban on "Assault Weapons"

Shortly after Jim Zumbo had posted is ill-advised comments on black guns and assault weapons on his blog, Michigan's U.S. Senator Carl Levin took advantage of the moment and introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate on gun control. Levin's comments quoting Zumbo and attacking firearms owners and hunting was entered into the Congressional Record. Below is Zumbo's reply to Levin.

 

JIM ZUMBO

March 28, 2007

 

An Open Letter to the United States Senate

 

Dear Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

It recently came to my attention that one of your colleagues, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, has chosen to attack firearms owners using remarks I wrote in mid-February as his launch pad. As you probably know, Sen. Levin has been making anti-gun speeches every week for the past eight years because of a promise he made to the Economic Club of Detroit in May 1999.

 

Mr. Levin has an agenda, and he should have spoken to me before using my name in one of his speeches, especially since his remarks were entered into the Congressional Record. I would like my remarks here entered into the Congressional Record as well.

 

Sen. Levin is only one of 16 members of the Senate to vote against the Vitter Amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. This amendment prohibits the confiscation of a privately-owned firearm during an emergency or major disaster when possession of that gun is not prohibited under state or federal law.

 

Eighty-four senators voted for that amendment, inspired by the egregious confiscation of firearms from the citizens of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Those seizures, you will recall, led the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association to join in a landmark civil rights lawsuit in federal court that brought the confiscations to an abrupt end.

 

The taking of private property without warrant or probable cause even firearms was considered an outrage by millions of American citizens, and yet Sen. Levin joined 15 of his colleagues in voting against this measure. It is no small wonder that Sen. Levin gets an F rating from gun rights organizations. He would have American citizens disarmed and left defenseless at a time when they need their firearms the most, when social order collapses into anarchy and protecting ones self and ones family is not simply a right and responsibility, it becomes a necessity.

 

That in mind, Sen. Levin must know that almost immediately

after I wrote those remarks, I recanted and apologized to the millions of Americans who lawfully and responsibly own, compete with and hunt with semi-automatic rifles. I took a crash course on these firearms and visited with my good friend Ted Nugent on his ranch in Texas, where I personally shot an AR-15 and educated myself with these firearms.

 

Some of us learn from our mistakes, others keep making them. Legislation, to which Sen. Levin eluded, HR 1022, would renew the ban on so-called assault weapons, and dangerously expand it to encompass far more perfectly legal firearms. For the Congress of the United States to even consider such legislation is an affront to every law-abiding firearms owner in this country.

 

This legislation that Sen. Levin appears to endorse is written so broadly as outlaw not only firearms, but accessories, including a folding stock for a Ruger rifle. As I understand the language of this bill, it could ultimately take away my timeworn and cherished hunting rifles and shotguns firearms I hope to one day pass on to my grandchildren as well as millions of identical and similar firearms owned by other American citizens.

 

It is clear to me that the supporters of this legislation don’t want to stop criminals. They want to invent new ones out of people like me, and many of you, and your constituents, friends, neighbors and members of your families. They will do anything they can, go to any extremes they believe necessary, to make it impossible for more and more American citizens to legally own any firearm.

 

In his final paragraph, Senator Levin misrepresents what I said. I never spoke in favor of a general assault weapons ban. Again, I immediately apologized for my blog statement that was exclusively directed toward hunting and not gun ownership.

 

I will not allow my name to be associated with this kind of attack on the Second Amendment rights of my fellow citizens.

 

A few weeks ago, in a letter to Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, I promised to educate my fellow hunters about this insidious legislation even if I have to visit every hunting camp and climb into every duck blind and deer stand in this country to get it done.

 

I will amend that to add that I will bring my effort to Capitol Hill if necessary, even if I have to knock on every door and camp in every office of the United States Senate. In promoting this ban, the Hon. Carl Levin does not speak for me, or anybody I know.

 

Sincerely,

 

James Zumbo

Cody, Wyoming


CG Auxiliary concerned about spike in boating fatalities  

Partners with boating retailer and PFD manufacturer to promote “Fit to Float” campaign

As the beginning of boating season draws near in many parts of the country, the Coast Guard Auxiliary continued to express concerns about the number of boating fatalities that occur each year, many as a result of not wearing life jackets (PFDs). 

 

According to the latest available statistics from the US Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, boating deaths in the U.S. increased for the first time since 2002.  This is a cause for concern for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, as well as the many other organizations actively engaged in promoting recreational boating safety.  The number of fatalities in 2005, which is the latest data available, increased to 697 deaths, up from 676 in 2004.

 

To raise awareness about this important public safety issue, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Stearns Inc, and Bass Pro Shops, are teaming up on the nationwide “Fit to Float”

campaign. The goal of the “Fit to Float” campaign is to prevent drownings across the U.S. by educating the public on the importance of wearing a proper fitting life jacket.

 

The “Fit to Float” campaign features a lifejacket exchange. The public can trade-in their old or ill-fitting lifejackets at a local Bass Pro Shop store and receive a discount off the purchase of a new light, less restrictive Stearns lifejacket or Sospenders brand inflatable PFD.  The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Stearns, Inc. Safety Team will be at the stores on select dates to demonstrate the proper fit of a lifejacket and answer questions. The trade-in program will be held during Bass Pro Shop’s Boating and Camping Classics, which runs thru June 2007.

 

For more go to: www.uscgboating.org/statistics/Boating_Statistics_2005.pdf  

•70% of boating fatalities were drowning victims

•87% of drowning victims were not wearing PFD’s

•60 % of fatalities were result of capsizing or falls overboard

•Florida led in fatalities (80 deaths), followed by California (58)


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 6, 2007

Weather Conditions:

Weather more suitable for January occurred in the Great Lakes basin this week.  A very strong storm pushed through the region beginning Tuesday, bringing heavy rain to many locations.  Across the northern third of the basin, a blizzard dropped up to two feet of snow. Locations prone to lake effect snow will continue to see accumulating snowfall through the upcoming weekend.  Temperatures will begin to moderate by the start of the work week.

 

Lake Level Conditions:

Presently, Lake Superior is 9 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is at the same level as it was last year.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 1 to 5 inches above last year’s water levels.  All of the Great Lakes are forecasted to rise between 3 and 5 inches over the next month.  During the next few months, Lake Superior is expected to remain below its water level of a year ago.  Water levels on Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are expected to be similar to last year.  Lake Ontario is projected to be slightly above last year’s level over the next couple months. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for April. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flow

in the Niagara River, as well as the St. Lawrence River, is expected to be above average. Water levels and flows in the connecting channels may be greatly impacted by ice jams.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page.

 

Alerts:

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum through August.  Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Apr 6

600.1

577.3

574.8

571.7

245.9

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-12

-1

+17

+30

+31

Diff last month

+5

+3

+3

+2

+4

Diff from last yr

-9

0

+1

+4

+5


Crayfish dine on Great Lakes trout and salmon (eggs)

Ann Arbor, MI — The reproductive season for salmon and trout brings about new dining opportunities for both exotic and native species of crayfish in the Great Lakes.

 

Crayfish consume from 1 to 6 lake trout or rainbow trout each eggs per day, depending on the ambiance of their environment. Considering that crayfish densities on rocky spawning reefs at several sites in northeastern Lake Michigan varied from 4 to 54 per sq yd, crayfish could be responsible for consuming as many as 324 eggs per sq yd of fish spawning habitat.

 

In laboratory studies, fewer eggs were consumed in cold

water than warm water. The introduced rusty crayfish (named because of dark rusty patches on both sides of their body) ate more eggs at warmer temperatures compared to native species. Native crayfish were better at feeding in cold water relative to rusty crayfish, which are less adapted to the Great Lakes region. Rusty crayfish also preferred to dine alone, eating fewer eggs in the presence of others.

 

Lake trout are the focus of intensive management efforts to restore reproducing populations in the Great Lakes. "This information will be useful for modeling the expected survival of spawned eggs," said primary investigator Brian Ellrott.

 

www.iaglr.org/jglr/release/33/33_1_7-14.php


General

IGFA Offshore World Championship Tournament

May 20-25

The IGFA’s 8th annual IGFA Offshore World Championship to be held in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, May 20-25

International fishing’s most prestigious billfish tournament hosts 69 winning teams from nearly 30 countries on six continents who have qualified by winning one of 132 IGFA sanctioned events held in 2006.

This tournament is the largest contingent of international teams to compete in a single catch-and-release fishing tournament world wide. Contact IGFA tournament coordinator Lesley Arico at 954-924-4222 or LArico@igfa.org  or for media information from IGFA PR counsel Pete Johnson at 480-951-3654 or johnsoncom@aol.com .

 

 


 

Lake Erie

Environmental changes of Lake Erie

Ann Arbor, MI — The fish community and water quality in Lake Erie rivers have changed following the establishment of numerous invasive species (such as zebra mussels), along with alterations to stream and river environments, reports a collaborative study by the U. of Toronto, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Ministry of Environment.

 

The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) reports fishes that were once highly abundant, like walleye, now occur in smaller numbers and solely in larger rivers. In the rivers flowing into Lake Erie, predatory fishes now are often captured in habitats that differ substantially from their prey. These fish appear to choose their habitat based on water quality and substratum conditions at the bottom of the river. Enhancements to water quality, for example by reducing

nutrient and sediment inputs in the rivers flowing into Lake Erie, will help restore fish habitat and sport fish abundances.

 

Withdrawals of water from rivers and streams, and in particular the neighboring groundwater, are substantial stressors of the fish community due to associated changes in water temperature and chemical characteristics - a condition likely to become further exacerbated by potential climate changes.

 

Results of this study "Fish Assemblages and Environmental Conditions in the Lower Reaches of Northeastern Lake Erie Tributaries," are reported by Sapna Sharma and Donald A. Jackson in the latest issue (Volume 33, No. 1, pp. 15-27) of the Journal of Great Lakes Research, published by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, 2007.


Michigan

Fish Disease Halts Walleye, Pike and Muskie Production and Stocking

The rapidly increasing distribution of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv) in Michigan waters has forced the Michigan DNR to place a one-year moratorium on walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge production and stocking to ensure the disease is not inadvertently spread by DNR activities, and to protect the state’s fish hatchery system.

 

“All of the DNR’s egg sources for walleye and one key source for northern pike are from Great Lakes waters that are, or are highly likely to be, infected with VHSv,” said Kelley Smith, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division. “Muskie egg sources, as well as two other sources for northern pike are located in very high risk waters.” Smith said that currently it is not known whether eggs from these species of fish can be disinfected, adding that disease testing takes four to eight weeks, thus making it impossible to determine which egg sources are infected before moving the eggs into state hatcheries.

 

VHSv has already caused widespread fish mortalities in Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario, and is an international reportable disease. In late 2006, the DNR determined it had spread into Lake Huron, as far north as Cheboygan and Rogers City. The disease entered Michigan waters from the Maritime Region of Canada, likely in the discharge of infected ballast water from cargo ships that took up ballast water in previously infected waters. The virus does not affect humans in any way.

 

“If VHSv would inadvertently infect a state fish hatchery, all of the fish at that facility would have to be destroyed and hatcheries completely disinfected.  The economic loss to our state would be between $40 and $60 million,” Smith said. “Since we only rear coolwater fish at Thompson and Wolf Lake State Fish Hatcheries,  incubating potentially infected walleye, muskie and northern pike eggs at these two facilities would put at risk all of the state’s production of steelhead, 40 % of the Chinook salmon and a number of other species.”

 

Prior to making the decision to place a moratorium on the production of these species, the DNR examined a range of options. They included:

 

► Developing isolation areas within existing hatcheries - it was determined that this cannot be done without substantial risk to other fish species in the hatcheries.

 

►Undertaking off-site rearing at other DNR facilities - this was rejected because sufficient water of the proper quality and temperature was not available and appropriate effluent treatment could not be done.

 

►Undertaking off-site rearing at other cooperator facilities - the DNR determined that the liability risk is too great, since contaminating a non-DNR facility with VHSv would result in substantial costs for the DNR to disinfect and clean up the 

facility.

 

► Obtaining fish from other agencies - this concept was investigated, but genetically compatible sources of walleye and northern pike are not available in the Great Lakes region. However, this may be an option for muskellunge, and is being pursued by the DNR.

 

► Obtaining eggs from other inland sources in Michigan - this option is not feasible because insufficient numbers of fish are available to meet the state’s egg-take needs, and the potential sources of eggs are at high risk of VHSv infection.

 

The DNR is taking the following steps to ensure that walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge production can resume in the future:

 

♦ Experiments will be conducted this spring on eggs collected from walleye and muskellunge populations in Lakes Erie and St. Clair that are likely infected with VHSv to determine if standard iodine disinfection techniques will work for coolwater fish. If the experiments demonstrate that the standard techniques are effective, then normal coolwater fish production will resume in 2008,

 

♦ Extensive VHSv surveillance and monitoring of current coolwater broodstock populations will be conducted to allow the DNR to determine the prevalence and intensity of infection in each broodstock population.  These efforts should help to identify potential broodstock sources and rearing locations for the future,

 

♦ Determine other potential out-of-state sources for coolwater fish for future rearing options,

 

♦ Develop additional backup options to incubate and rear coolwater fish outside of the state’s hatchery system. This will include the development of fully contained mobile incubation and rearing facilities and the potential use of other off-site incubation and rearing facilities. The cost of additional mobile incubation facilities is approximately $22,500 per one million walleye fry.

 

“Implementation of these measures will require a substantial commitment of effort and dollars, at a cost that will greatly exceed what would be expended for coolwater fish rearing under normal circumstances,” Smith said. “There are no new dollars for such efforts, so we are reprioritizing our existing work plans and budget to ensure the work is accomplished prior to the 2008 coolwater fish production season.  We have, however, requested emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, but we do not yet know if and when these funds might be available to help us meet the threat posed by VHSv in the Great Lakes.”


Cormorant control nixed in Senate budget

The Ludington Daily News reports the budget bill passed by the State Senate to fix the current fiscal year budget shortfall included a $839,400 cut to the Michigan  DNR, included in which was $150,000 for cormorant control measures at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant and at Beaver Island.

 

“That means no cormorant control if it passes,” said Tom Rozich, fisheries biologist supervisor, noting his frustration with the cut after finally securing the funding after years of repeated requests. “I’m sure there’s a lot more pork in the budget and that ain’t pork. It’s our brown trout fishery; that’s our lake trout spawners,” Rozich said.

 

Two weeks earlier, the News reported if Consumers Energy

agreed to it, federal wildlife technicians would shoot about 200 adult birds and oil the eggs on a double-crested cormorant

colony of almost 500 nests at a breakwall offshore from the Consumers Pumped Storage Plant this spring. The egg-oiling was also agreed to by a team comprised of DNR biologists from wildlife and fisheries divisions. The Lake Michigan Basin Team also agreed to kill 10 % of the adult population of the colony by lethal shooting.

 

Local reports indicate there are 486 cormorant nests with an estimated population of 2,000 adult marauders.  That's about 2,000 birds x  1.5 lbs of fish consumed per day X 100 days= 300,000 lbs. - 150 tons of fish destroyed by these critters. Any questions about such an impact to our fisheries resources?


Ohio

Ohio lowers perch bag limit

New limits for sport and commercials alter annual Lake Committee RAH

Ohio is lowering the sportsmen's daily bag limit for yellow perch on Lake Erie from 40 to 30 fish per day and cutting

commercial fishing catch limits to 2006 levels. This is after the Lake Erie Committee came up with a recommended allowable harvest that was approved at the annual lake committee meetings held just two weeks ago.


Biologists to continue tracking walleye movement in Sandusky Bay/River

Project aims to better understand population declines of this sportfish

 COLUMBUS, OH – For the second year, biologists will track walleye movement during spring spawning runs in the Sandusky River and Bay to better understand why the population of this important sportfish has declined over the past 30 years. The project is slated to continue through next year.

 

Fisheries biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife implanted radio transmitters in 50 walleye during 2005-2006 and will monitor individual fish, using a combination of remote data logging stations, as well as boat-based and aerial tracking.

 

The objectives of this research are:

1)                 to examine precise movement patterns of walleye in Sandusky River and Bay;

2)                 to locate additional spawning locations within the river and bay;

3)                 to document the amount of repeat spawning (across years) that occurs for this population. 

         

Information gathered will provide insight on how to enhance

the Sandusky River walleye spawning population through potential habitat improvement projects and fisheries regulations.

 

“This research gives us a unique opportunity to document movements and spawning behavior of walleye in the Sandusky River,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program administrator.  “Ultimately, the knowledge we gain from this research will provide important information for improving the health of our walleye population”.

 

Transmitters implanted in walleye should last for about three years, so biologists will be able to track fish through multiple spawning seasons.  Of the fish that received transmitters, 34 were detected in the bay and river in 2006. Transmitter-bearing fish have already been located in Sandusky Bay and River this year.

         

These fish are distinguished by antennae protruding from their stomachs.  Anglers who catch one are urged to contact the Division of Wildlife’s Sandusky Fisheries Research Unit and provide information on fish size, location, and jaw tag number (if present).  If possible, anglers are also asked to release any transmitter-bearing walleye they catch.

 


Wisconsin

Geneticist assists state’s musky stocking program

HAYWARD, Wis. – By collecting musky eggs from different lakes where muskies have proven they can grow to large sizes and reproduce successfully on their own, state fisheries officials are hoping to improve Wisconsin’s musky rearing and stocking program and provide better musky angling for years to come.

 

DNR fisheries biologists are working with a U. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point fish geneticist who helped them develop genetic criteria for selecting lakes for musky egg collection. Dr. Brian Sloss, a geneticist at the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources, helped DNR biologists develop criteria to select lakes for egg collection using factors such as documented natural reproduction and adequate number of fish. Trophy-fish potential is another factor considered when selecting brood source lakes.

 

Sloss also recommended annually rotating collection among the lakes that meet the criteria for providing eggs for hatchery production.

“The greater the genetic diversity among sources of stocked fingerlings, the greater the odds they will adapt to their new home, resist disease, and perhaps even spawn successfully as adults,” said Dave Neuswanger, DNR fisheries supervisor for the Upper Chippewa Basin.

 

Following the criteria, biologists last year obtained all the fertilized eggs needed for fingerling production at the Governor Thompson Hatchery in Spooner from adult muskies on the Chippewa Flowage. “During that operation, we mated an unprecedented number of individual females -- 26 of them -- up to 51" in length with multiple unique males up to 45" in length,” Neuswanger said. “This ensured a healthy level of genetic diversity among the hatchery-produced 10- to 12-inch fingerlings stocked last fall throughout northwestern Wisconsin,” he said.

 

This year, biologists chose Butternut Lake near Park Falls in Price County as the source of eggs for the DNR musky hatchery in Spooner. Neuswanger said that Butternut is one of the few lakes in northwestern Wisconsin that meets all the criteria recommended by Dr. Sloss for sources of muskellunge brood stock. Further, Butternut produced many trophy-class fish over 50 inches long until it became overpopulated in the early 1990s. More recently, body condition (plumpness), growth rate, and average size declined

in the face of extreme competition for food among abundant adults.

 

“We propose to fix the overpopulation at Butternut by removing some adult fish surplus to our spawning needs. That will also help us start a new musky fishery in Lake Neshonoc near La Crosse,” Neuswanger said. “As a source of eggs for hatchery production and adults to start a new fishery, Butternut is ideal because its adult muskellunge have the demonstrated potential to reach trophy size, and they have reproduced naturally at a high rate since 1995, even in the presence of northern pike.”

 

Biologists initially considered moving a couple hundred adult muskies from Butternut Lake to Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) near Hayward. LCO currently has fewer muskies than desired. That plan was changed when tests showed substantial genetic differences between adult fish in the two lakes.

 

“We have no reason to believe there is anything wrong, genetically, with the fish in either lake,” Neuswanger explained. “They simply appear to be different, and we thought it unwise to flood LCO with spawning adult fish from a different genetic stock at a time when biologists are trying to get the native stock at LCO to reproduce better on their own.”

 

“Using Butternut Lake offspring will help maintain overall genetic diversity in northwestern Wisconsin,” Neuswanger said. “The stocking of 10- to 12-inch fingerlings to maintain a musky fishery at LCO, where about 90 percent will die before reaching sexual maturity at age 6, poses far less risk to future natural reproduction at LCO than doubling the population instantly with a transfer of hundreds of spawning-age adults from Butternut Lake.”

 

Neuswanger added that he appreciates the help from the University of Wisconsin in moving the state’s musky program forward. “I have worked in other states,” said Neuswanger, “but none are applying the principles of muskellunge genetic stock conservation more progressively than Wisconsin right now, thanks in large part to Dr. Sloss.”

 

For more info go to: August 2006 issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine and on the musky management pages of the DNR Web site under “Draft Broodstock Management Plan” and “Genetic Research on Muskellunge in Wisconsin.”


Ontario

Ontario Fishing Regs changes delayed

Anglers Should Continue to Use 2005-2006 Rules

TORONTO — New Ontario Fishing Regulations will not go into effect until January 1, 2008 according to a statement issued by Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay February 3. “By implementing the new fishing regulations at the beginning of a new year we will be in keeping with tradition,” said Ramsay. “Most anglers are aware that this is typically when regulation changes are made so this timing allows for clarity and consistency.”

 

Anglers should continue to use the 2005-2006 regulations and current Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary throughout 2007, with the exception of the following changes that took effect January 1, 2007:

 

• The walleye season is open year-round on all of Lake Erie. The catch and possession limit for walleye in the eastern

basin of Lake Erie has increased to six fish from four.

 

• On Lake Nipissing, the winter season for walleye and some other species has been extended by one week. This change, along with a longer fall season applies to the entire lake including the West Arm. There have also been some changes to walleye and pike catch limits in the West Arm to be consistent with the rest of Lake Nipissing.

 

• On Golden Lake, the walleye fishery is re-opening after being closed for five years. There will be a 50 cm minimum size limit, and a catch and possession limit of two walleye (under a sport fishing licence) and one walleye (under a conservation fishing licence).

 

• The province has extended the bass season across the province by moving the opening day from the last Saturday in June to the fourth Saturday in June.


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