Week of April 27, 2009






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FDA Investigates Benefits, Dangers of Eating Fish

"Consumers Should Not Be Scared Away from Health Benefits of Fish"

Washington, DC—Despite ongoing concern about the presence of small levels of methylmercury in seafood, the FDA’s draft Risk and Benefit Assessment concluded that cardiovascular and neurodevelopmental benefits of eating most fish species outweigh any potential harms. 


“Although the FDA’s periodic advisories on fish consumption have emphasized the remote risk of mercury exposure, the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence suggests that consumption of most commercial fish species provides substantial net health benefits,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Gregory Conko.  “The American Heart Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have been urging consumers—especially pregnant women—to eat more fish, not less.  So, it’s

refreshing that the agency has finally begun to provide balanced and scientifically-validated information.”


A 2006 report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine urged the FDA to find a better way “to characterize the risks combined with the benefits” derived from eating commercial fish species, because consumers may be put at greater risk from reducing fish consumption than from consuming seafood that contains methylmercury at the levels currently found in most commercial fish species. 


“Critics have characterized the report as an effort to mislead consumers about mercury in fish,” said Conko. “But, public health policy should never be based on a systematic failure to consider both sides of the risk equation.  Giving consumers only half the relevant information is misguided and puts them at heightened risk.”


Great Lakes Water Levels for April 24, 2009

Weather Conditions

Early this week, the Great Lakes basin experienced below average temperatures and mixed precipitation.  Milder conditions arrived across the region on Thursday.  Much warmer weather is expected for the start of the weekend with temperatures reaching the 80s in many locations.  A strong storm system will track towards the basin touching off showers and thunderstorms beginning Saturday.  The potential exists for extremely heavy rain with some of these storms.

 Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 5 inches above what it was one year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 11 and 7 inches, respectively, above their levels last year.  Lake Erie is an inch below its level a year ago, while Lake Ontario is 5 inches lower than last year's level.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are projected to rise 4 inches over the next 30 days, as Lakes St. Clair and Erie are expected to rise an inch.   Lake Ontario is also predicted to increase 1 inch over the next month.  Over the next several months, Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are forecasted to remain at or above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are forecasted to be at or below last year's levels over the next six months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In March the outflows through the St. Mary's and St. Clair

Rivers were lower than average.  The outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River was near average in March, while the Niagara and St. Lawrence River outflows were above average. 


Lake Superior is below its chart datum elevation and is expected to be below datum through May. 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.  





St. Clair



Level for Apr 24







Datum, in ft






Diff in inches











Diff last month











Diff from last yr












EPIRB owners urged to re-check ID codes

FORT LAUDERDALE--Cobham Life Support, ACR Products, the world's leader in safety and survival technologies, is urging all EPIRB and PLB owners to double check their 15-character identification code registration.


According to a recent Marine Board of Investigation inquiry, which is looking into the sinking of the scallop boat Lady Mary on March 24th, there was a discrepancy in the EPIRB's ID number, marked on a decal that the boat's owner had received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after he registered the EPIRB.


In the case of the Lady Mary, the emergency signal initially received by authorities was regarded as unregistered which may have led to delays in response time while emergency center controllers waited for additional satellite passes to fix a location. Had the controllers been able to pull the Lady Mary's registration data, they could have contacted emergency contacts to confirm the status of the boat and its general location prior to a satellite fix.


An EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is a satellite-signaling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted and where the situation is deemed to be

grave and imminent, and the loss of life, limb, eyesight or

valuable property will occur without assistance. All US beacons must be registered with NOAA following purchase. Registration, including the beacon's unique 15-character identification code, often is made online at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov .


Despite the requirement to register all EPIRBs and PLBs, some reports show that up to 40 % of EPIRB activations are from unregistered beacons, a possible deadly mistake when minutes can make the difference between life and death.


In an emergency, the EPIRBs and PLBs transmit on 406 MHz via the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system with the sender's unique, registered, digitally coded distress signal. The code allows emergency officials monitoring the system to tell who is sending the signal (thanks to the coding and registration data). Once the emergency is confirmed and location data is received from the satellites, a search can be authorized.


Proper registration is vital in the early minutes of an emergency so rescue center officials can obtain critical data about a boat's owner, home port, emergency contacts and other information to begin a search even before a satellite gets a fix on a beacon's location.

NMMA pares down boat show schedule   

Eliminates Schaumburg, IL Show

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is discontinuing three of its shows - the San Diego Boat Show, the Schaumburg Boat & Sport Show, and the Virginia In-Water Boat Expo & Sailfest.


"In the current state of our industry, our shows' exhibitors are compromised by an overabundance of boat shows in these markets," said Ben Wold, NMMA executive vice president, in a statement. "By moving forward without the Virginia, San Diego and Schaumburg shows, we'll be able to focus on delivering improved quality at our other shows and create a stronger selling environment for our exhibitors at remaining NMMA shows."


"In an industry with fewer dealers and fewer manufacturers,

there will be fewer boat shows," NMMA president Thom Dammrich added in a statement. "This decision allows NMMA to streamline its show business and focus on providing dynamic shows in markets that are not over-served, which will ultimately deliver stronger shows for the industry in the long run."


The fifth annual Virginia In-Water Boat Expo & Sailfest was to take place in Town Point Park at the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront Sept. 18-20; the 22nd annual San Diego Boat Show was scheduled to take place in January 2010 at the San Diego Convention Center and adjacent Marriott Marina; and the fourth annual Schaumburg Boat & Sportshow was scheduled to take place Feb. 18-21 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center.



Restricted Access on Middlefork River

No Recreational Boating on river in Vermillion County

The Illinois DNR has determined current conditions on the Middlefork River in Vermilion County to be significantly dangerous to the boating public.  As a result, all recreational boating is restricted on the Middlefork River from the North Boundary of the Middlefork Fish and Wildlife Area to the South Boundary of Kickapoo State Park. 

This restricted area is off limits to all recreational watercraft until further notice.  IDNR has authorization to designate restricted boating areas when navigation is considered significantly hazardous.  IDNR is monitoring the situation and will remove the restrictions when conditions improve.  For more information about river restrictions, go to the IDNR website at www.dnr.state.il.us.


Natural-lake fish surveys set for the summer

Indiana DNR fisheries biologists are scheduled to conduct fish population surveys at 19 natural lakes this summer.


Biologists use these surveys to monitor populations over time and to help identify fish management problems.  The surveys provide biologists with information on the diversity of fish present, as well their abundance, size, and rate of growth. 


Lakes to be surveyed include Everett in Allen County; Terry in DeKalb County; Dewart in Kosciusko County; Adams, Appleman, Cedar, and Wall in LaGrange County; Koontz in Marshall County; Big, Crane, Crooked, and Loon in Noble County; Long in Porter County; Loon and West Otter in Steuben County; and Goose, Larwill, New, and Old in Whitley County. 


“Each summer we conduct standard fish population surveys

at select natural lakes to help keep tabs on local fishing

conditions,” said Stu Shipman north fisheries supervisor with the DNR.  “The data are used to look at changes in fish populations over time and formulate management plans for each lake.  The findings also provide valuable information to local anglers and lake residents.”  


During the surveys, biologists will use electro-fishing boats, gill nets and trap nets to collect fish.  Each fish will be counted and measured, and representative scale samples will be taken to determine the age and growth of abundant game species.    


“Our goal is to get an overall picture of the lake ecosystem to help us make good decisions on how best to manage the resource,” Shipman said. 


Stocked fish still abundant at Hurshtown reservoir

An Indiana DNR fish population survey done last summer indicates that Hurshtown Reservoir has an abundant population of naturally reproducing smallmouth bass and walleye, despite neither being stocked recently.


Smallmouth bass have not been stocked in the 242-acre northern Allen County impoundment since 1992, yet represent the second most populous fish found in the survey. Green sunfish had the highest population. The largest smallmouth collected measured 17" long. 


“Smallmouth bass were stocked from 1989 to 1992 to provide more fishing diversity for anglers and to feed on over-abundant green sunfish,” said Nate Thomas, DNR assistant fisheries biologist. “They have adapted to the reservoir well and remain a popular fish at Hurshtown.”

The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department (FWPRD) stocked approximately 13,500 3" walleye fingerlings from 1998 to 2000 for the same reasons as the smallmouth stockings were done.   “Collecting walleyes was a surprise because they have not been stocked recently and all of the walleyes we collected were only 2 years old,” Thomas said. 


Although the walleye collected were of the naturally reproducing variety, Thomas warned against depending solely on nature to sustain a walleye population in the reservoir. He said he doesn’t believe the reservoir can naturally sustain a walleye population over time.     


“Successful natural reproduction among walleye in northeast Indiana is rare due to lack of suitable habitat and other fish likely feeding on walleye fry,” Thomas said.


DNR Asks Anglers for Assistance with Salmon Studies

Agency needs info on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron fish

The Michigan DNR is asking anglers to be on the lookout for coded-wire tagged (CWT) Chinook salmon and steelhead.  These fish can be identified by having only the adipose fin removed or “clipped.”  Fish with only the adipose fin removed carry a tiny internal wire tag that is injected into the snout of the fingerling at the hatchery prior to stocking; the tag contains information on the date and location of stocking.  Information concerning angler harvest of these tagged fish is needed as part of several ongoing research projects.


“Since 1990, more than 15 million trout and salmon have been marked with adipose (Ad) fin clips and coded-wire tags, and anglers have helped us recover more than 75,000 of these tags,” said Dave Clapp, manager of the Department’s Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station.  “Angler cooperation is an essential component of fish marking programs, and the result of these cooperative efforts is more abundant and healthier fish for the sport fishery.”


Anglers catching a CWT trout or salmon should remove the head or the portion of the snout where the CWT should be located by cutting from behind the eyes to the back corner of 

the mouth. Place the snout in a plastic bag and freeze. Along with the snout, also record the following data; date and closest port or location where fish was caught, measured length, and weight (if possible), along with angler contact information.  A printable CWT data form is available online at:



A letter telling where and when their fish was released and the age of the fish at the time it was harvested will be sent to every angler who includes their name and address along with the catch data. The data form should be put in a separate plastic bag and placed inside a larger plastic bag along with snout/head.  This will assure that the data will stay dry and be legible when the snout is processed later in the lab.


Take the head/snout to one of our CWT head drop sites. A list of these can be found on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/documents/coded-wire-tag-drop-sites-July-2006_165267_7.pdf, or by calling the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station office at 231-547-2914.


For more info on the Coded-Wire Tag Program: www.michigan.gov/taggedfish.

Pontiac Lake Shooting Range closed for Renovations

Other DNR Ranges Open for Business

 Michigan DNR temporarily closed the Pontiac Lake Shooting Range for renovations April 20. The range is located in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in Waterford in Oakland County.  Work is expected to be completed by Monday, June 1.


The 25/50 yard earthen berm will be repaired.  The repairs are necessary to ensure more costly work on the berm does not have to be done in the future.  The earthen berm is designed to stop and contain bullets fired on the range.  In addition, a new firing line roof will be constructed over the shooting stations.  The new roof will help protect the shooters from the sun, rain and snow which will make their shooting experience more enjoyable.


While the range is down for these renovations the public is encouraged to visit one of the other DNR managed shooting ranges where range personnel are present.  In addition to Pontiac Lake, they include:  Bald Mountain Shooting Range located in Lake Orion in Oakland County, Island Lake Shooting Range located in Brighton in Livingston County, Ortonville Shooting Range located in Ortonville in Lapeer

County, Rose Lake Shooting Range located in Bath in Clinton County, and Sharonville Shooting Range located in Grass Lake in Jackson County.


Range hours at Bald Mountain, Ortonville, and Pontiac Lake are 10 - 5 p.m.  At Rose Lake and Sharonville, 9 - 5 p.m. Range fees at Bald Mountain, Pontiac Lake and Ortonville are $4 per day for each shooter age 16 and older.  Children under 16 are free.  Rose Lake and Sharonville have no fee. 


For more information, call the ranges:

-Bald Mountain-248-693-0567

-Island Lake-248-437-2784


-Pontiac Lake-248-666-5406

-Rose Lake-517-641-7801



Shooters are reminded to bring eye and ear protection and approved targets with either a bull’s eye pattern or a depiction of legal game.  Shooters under age 16 must be supervised by an adult.


International Falls Fisheries field activities for 2009

Current and accurate information about fish populations, fish habitat, and angler use forms the foundation of all Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries management activities, from stocking fish to experimental regulations.


Lake and stream surveys, fish population assessments, large lake sampling and angler creel surveys are some of the tools used to monitor the health of fish populations in Minnesota’s lakes and streams. 


DNR fisheries management in International Falls has many of these activities planned for this season. The area includes 135 lakes, 105 rivers and streams, and 12 designated trout streams in Koochiching and northern St. Louis counties. 


Activities scheduled for the following lakes include:

►Lake survey or fish population assessments - Fishmouth, Little Loon, Spring, Teufer, Winchester, Clear, Dark, Echo, Elephant, Moose (near Littlefork), Namakan, Rat Root, Sand Point, Little Trout, Crane Stream surveys or stream assessments - Gilmore Creek, Trout Brook, Kinmount Creek

►Large lake sampling - Rainy Lake, including spring trap netting, spring bass electrofishing, shoreline seining, water sampling, fall gill netting, and fall electrofishing for juvenile walleye; and Kabetogama Lake, including spring bass electrofishing, shoreline seining, water sampling, fall gill-net assessment, and fall electrofishing for juvenile walleye.


►Fish stocking - lake trout yearlings in Spring Lake and Winchester Lake; walleye fingerlings in Kjostad Lake; Ash Lake and Myrtle Lake


Additional fish stocking could occur in Bartlett, Cameron, and Pine Lakes if winterkill occurred and fish are available. Trout Brook and Lost River could receive brook trout if fish are available from state hatcheries. Other unique activities scheduled include a radio-telemetry study of lake sturgeon in Namakan Reservoir in collaboration with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Voyageurs National Park, a muskie assessment on Crane Lake, and a walleye fry mark-recapture study on Kabetogama Lake.




Board Approves new rule on Invasive Species

MADISON –The state Natural Resources Board approved a new framework for classifying invasive species and providing preventive measures to control their spread in the state at its recent meeting in West Bend. Invasives are able to out-compete native plants and wildlife and can significantly affect the economy and outdoor traditions.


Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to develop a comprehensive rule of this kind. Drafted over a period of four years with extensive input from stakeholders, the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species and the public, the new rule establishes a science-based classification system for legally listing invasive species.


The classification system groups known invasive species into two formal categories: prohibited and restricted, and two informal categories, caution listed and non-restricted. The classifications are based on potential impacts, present distribution and abundance, potential for establishment and spread, control potential and both positive and negative socio-economic impacts. Preventive measures, primarily aimed at aquatic invasive species, include the removal of aquatic plants and animals from all equipment after exiting a waterbody.

The rule does not seek new authority but gives the department the ability, under existing authority, to prevent the importation, sale and release of known invasive species. The rule prohibits or restricts the transportation, importation, possession, transfer or introduction of invasive species classified as either prohibited or restricted and gives the department authority to order or implement control measures if necessary for prohibited species. Inspection and enforcement authority in the rule is intended to deal mainly with knowledgeable and willful introduction of listed invasive species. There are also provisions allowing transport, transfer, possession and introduction of prohibited and restricted invasive species under certain circumstances.


VHS, chronic wasting disease (CWD) and certain other fish and wildlife pathogens that are already the subject of specific control programs are not addressed in the new rule.


Costs associated with invasive species include cooling water intakes clogged with zebra mussels, spraying to control Gypsy moth, depletion of Great Lakes fish populations by lamprey, decreased ability of forests to regenerate naturally, loss of biodiversity, and impacts of cyanobacteria in our waterways.

New fishing tournament rule effective May 1

MADISON – A new Wisconsin fishing tournament rule goes into effect May 1, 2009.


The rule aims to reduce user conflicts and complaints about crowding by spreading out tournaments that exceed size limits, according to Mike Staggs, Wisconsin’s fisheries director.


The rule will also help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia or VHS disease.


“This rule allows fisheries biologists to work with tournament organizers to help make sure that tournament participants don’t accidentally introduce these invaders into new waters via their bait, fishing equipment, or boats,” Staggs says.


Fishing tournaments with more than 20 boats or 100 participants will need a permit under the new rule. Those tournament organizers needing a permit would have to pay an application fee to cover some of the cost of the fishing

tournament program.


“For those tournaments that actually need a permit, we’ve kept the fee affordable,” Staggs says. “The vast majority of tournaments that need to get a permit will pay a $25 fee, and tournaments aimed at providing fishing opportunities for kids and disabled people are free.”   “We don’t expect many events to be affected by the size limits, and if they are, we’re confident we can find agreeable solutions to most scheduling conflicts,” Staggs says. “And in the coming years, we’ll be evaluating the effect of the rule and how it may influence tournament activity.”


Tournament organizers who already have their permits for future tournaments or those who apply before the May 1 deadline will not be affected by the new tournament rule. Organizers can now easily plan and apply for a fishing fishing tournament permit  online. A new, searchable calendar is available that allows organizers, participants, anglers, and all water users to see which waters already have fishing tournaments scheduled. For more details on the new rule, visit the DNR fishing tournament Web site.


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