Week of August 25, 2008

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
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Indiana
Michigan
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Angler Reels in State Record Fish on Barbie Doll Rod and Reel

RALEIGH, N.C. – That’s David Hayes’ story and he’s sticking with it.  The Wilkes County angler used his granddaughter’s Barbie Doll rod-and-reel combo — all 2 ˝ feet of it — to reel in a new state record channel catfish that measured 2” longer than the fishing pole.

 

Hayes landed the record-breaking fish, which weighed 21

pounds, 1 ounce, on Aug. 5 from a private pond in Wilkes

County while fishing with his granddaughter Alyssa, 3. According to Hayes, the unusual fishing experience began in the early evening with a trip to the garden for bait.  After collecting several black crickets, he and Alyssa went down to the pond behind the house to fish for bluegill, an activity the pair have enjoyed together since Alyssa was barely big enough to hold a fishing rod.


National

USCG proposes boat passenger weight changes

The US Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations governing the stability of passenger vessels and the maximum number of passengers that may safely be permitted on board a vessel.  The average American weighs significantly more than the average weight assumed in the current regulations, and the maximum number of persons permitted on a vessel is determined by several factors, including an assumed average weight for each passenger. 

 

Under this proposal, the assumed average weight of a 
passengerwould be raised from 160 lbs to 185 lbs.  
The Coast Guard is alsotaking this opportunity to clarify 
and update intact stability and subdivision and damage 
stability regulations.

 

Comments on this proposal should be submitted by November 18.  73 Fed. Reg. 49243, (August 20, 2008)

To view Federal Register document: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-18791.pdf

 

For more info and process for submitting or viewing comments:  

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-18791.htm 
 
You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket 
# USCG-2007-0030 to the Docket Management Facility at the 
U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, 
use only one of the following methods:
 (1) Online: http://www.regulations.gov.
 (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department 
of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.  
Phone:  202-366-9329.
 (3) Fax: 202-493-2251.
 (4) To ensure that comments are received on time, the preferred
 method is by e-mail: oira_submission@omb.eop.gov or fax at 
202-395-6566. The subject line should include the docket 
# (USCG-2007-0030) and say ATTN: Desk Officer, 
U.S. Coast Guard, DHS. 
 

To view comments, as well as documents available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Enter the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2007-0030) in the Search box and click ``Go >>.''


NMMA opposes Coast Guard HIN proposal       

The Coast Guard is again considering the costs and benefits associated with a proposal to expand Hull Identification Numbers (HINs) by adding five characters. Four of the five additional characters would indicate length, hull material, principal means of propulsion, and vessel type, while the fifth would be a check digit.

 

The National Marine Manufacturers Association strongly opposes the Coast Guard proposal and submitted a position paper Aug. 15 outlining its concerns. They include:

• Excessive costs for boat-builders and the marine industry as a

whole — including marine bankers, dealers and distributors — with no direct  improvement of boating safety.

• Inconsistency in format with key trading partners, particularly the European Union.

• Data sought through HIN expansion is already available through other collection systems.

 

For more info, contact Cindy Squires at (202) 737-9776 or csquires@nmma.org .  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sportsmen say they prefer to elect a President who hunts or fishes

McCain preferred candidate among sportsmen, as well as the preferred sporting partner

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NSSF) -- Sportsmen have a solid history of voting, with 9 in 10 currently registered to vote and of those 83 % say they will  vote in the November election, according to a new survey by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. Overall, there are an estimated 40 million sportsmen of voting age in the United States.

 

"Sportsmen are active voters and prefer candidates who align with them on hunting and fishing issues," said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "The attention presidential candidates give to sportsmen's issues is well-aimed."

 

Among sportsmen, Republican John McCain holds a significant lead over White House opponent Barack Obama, with a 14-point margin according to the survey. Asked who they planned to vote for in November, 45 % said McCain and 31 % said Obama.   Support for McCain among sportsmen extends from the voting booth to the field, the survey found.

 

Asked who they'd like to go hunting with, 49 % said McCain and 27 % said Obama. As a fishing buddy, 44 % said they'd prefer McCain and 31 % chose Obama.

 

"Sportsmen view John McCain as good company in the great outdoors," said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which helped underwrite the survey. "They're just not sure how much fun Barack Obama would be in a duck blind."

 

By a 2 to 1 margin sportsman said McCain would be a better president on sportsmen's issues than Obama.

 

"Politically engaged sportsmen see John McCain as a supporter of their concerns," Sanetti said. "To sportsmen, I would say, don't be fooled.  Make it a point to know where the candidates you're considering for office truly stand on hunting and firearms issues."

 

A majority of sportsmen polled said that it is important for a candidate to share their views on hunting and fishing issues, although the survey indicated the economy, homeland security and the war in Iraq are the top concerns for all Americans this election season.

When it comes to sportsmen-related issues, sportsmen are most likely to say that it's essential that a candidate support ensuring gun rights, clean water initiatives, and sustainable energy development.

 

"With an estimated $76 billion economic impact on the economy annually and direct support of 1.6 million jobs, the next president will need to pay attention to issues that impact hunting and fishing," said Crane. "Sportsmen need to ask candidates where they stand on our outdoor issues and take this into account when they vote on November 4th."

 

Other key findings of the survey include:

A significant portion of sportsmen say this November's election is more important than past elections regarding their ability to hunt and fish.

 

On the specific topic of gun rights, sportsmen say firearm issues are more important now than in past elections. Three-quarters (74%) say they would prefer to elect a president who personally owns firearms.

 

The telephone survey of 1,009 sportsmen was conducted July 10-24 by Braun Research on behalf of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and Ketchum Global Research. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 %.

 

The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan group headquartered in Washington, D.C. A leader in promoting sportsmen's issues with elected officials, CSF works with the bi-partisan Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus in the U.S. Congress, as well as sportsmen's caucuses in state legislators around the country. The CSF does not endorse political candidates.

 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, based in Newtown, Conn., works to increase participation in and understanding of hunting and the  shooting sports; to reaffirm and strengthen their members' commitment to the safe and responsible use of their products, and to promote a  political climate supportive of America's traditional firearms rights.

 

The survey was also supported by National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, Outdoor Channel, American Sportfishing Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. For more info: www.sportsmenslink.org.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 22, 2008

Weather Conditions

The Great Lakes region was unusually dry over the past week.   In fact, many areas within the Great Lakes basin have experienced negligible precipitation in August.  For example, in Detroit, only 1/7th of an inch has fallen as of Thursday, August 21st.  Above average temperatures are expected throughout the region on Friday and Saturday.  The eastern portion of the basin is expected to experience some thunderstorms on Friday. Temperatures will drop over the entire region on Sunday and Monday, and precipitation may fall in the western half of the region on Sunday.

 Lake Level Conditions

All of the Great Lakes are above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes Superior and Ontario are 16 inches above their levels of a year ago, while the remaining Great Lakes range from 2 to 9 inches above last year's levels.  All of the Great Lakes are predicted to fall during the next month. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are projected to drop 1 to 2 inches during that time, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecasted to fall 5 to 8 inches during the next month.  All of the Great Lakes, with the exception of Lake Erie, are expected to remain above their water levels of a year ago over the next few months.  Lake Erie is projected to be around last year's level starting next month.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In July, outflow through the St. Mary's River was slightly below average, and outflows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were also below average. The Niagara River's outflow was slightly above average, while outflow from the St. Lawrence River was also above average.

Alerts

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 Aug 22

601.7

578.1

574.3

571.6

246.3

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 +7

+7

+24

+28

+36

Diff last month

-2

  -2

-4

 -6

 -2

Diff from last yr

+16

+9

+6

+2

+16


General

Get set for Cabela’s Great Outdoor Days

Sidney, Neb. – Celebrate the start of hunting season and get ready for fall during Cabela’s Great Outdoor Days, starting August 21. The company’s biggest show of the year, Fall Great Outdoor Days offers seminars, sweepstakes, giveaways and great deals on great products - all under the big, green roof at Cabela’s.

 

Pro staff and representatives from top manufacturers will be on hand at Cabela’s Fall Great Outdoor Days to answer questions and give advice to improve your odds of success during the upcoming hunting season. Learn the newest tips and tactics through hands-on demonstrations and try before you buy on select items, including the newest bows, optics and other items.

 

Bring in a buck or bull and secure bragging rights as officials

from Boone & Crockett and/or Pope and Young will score

trophies on site. Check the store schedule for details and schedules.

 

Register for Cabela’s Sportsman’s Dream Package sweepstakes, with a $150,000 Grand Prize including a Ranger 1850 RS with Evinrude 150 outboard, 2009 F-Series Super Duty Cabela’s Edition truck and Mountain King Cabin. Other prizes include Kawasaki Teryx 4x4 RUV and $5,000 Cabela’s shopping spree.

 

Cabela’s largest sale of the year, with great prices on hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. Fall Great Outdoor Days runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 at all Cabela’s retail stores. To view event information and seminar schedules for the store nearest you, visit www.cabelas.com  and click on the Fall Great Outdoor Day banner.


Indiana

Waterfowl Reservation System will be online only this year, Aug. 25-Sept. 26

Because of the tight deadlines caused by federal control of waterfowl hunting dates and various other factors, there is not sufficient time to  give waterfowl hunters the option of registering for the drawing and receiving a reply via the U.S. Postal Service.

This year, registration for the drawing and the replies regarding its results will be available online only, at www.wildlife.IN.gov. Registration opened Aug. 25 and close Sept. 26. Look for the buttons for registering and for reading the results of the drawing on the Web site.

 


J. Edward Roush Lake Fun Shoot, Sept. 20

The second annual Fun Shoot at J. Edward Roush Reservoir's shooting range will be held Sept. 20. J. Edward Roush Lake, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever will host this event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Participation is through advance ticket sales only. The $30 fee includes 50 clay targets, paper targets and lunch. Tickets and ammunition are on sale at the range. The deadline to purchase a ticket is Sept. 15.

 

With 33 stations for shooting rifle and pistol, accessible restrooms, and a trap range that accommodates four shooters, J. Edward Roush's shooting range draws marksmen from miles around.

 

The rifle shoots are 100 yards - 20 rounds, and 50 yards - 20 rounds, .22 rim fire only. Shooters can earn five tickets for a drawing for each bull's-eye and one ticket for hitting the inside circle of provided targets. Drawing prizes are winner's choice of a Marlin 60C Rifle, annual range pass and 25 silhouette targets.  The pistol shoots are 7 yards - 20 rounds, and 50 feet - 20 rounds, with no caliber limit.

 

Pistol shooters will earn five drawing tickets for each bull's-eye and one ticket for hitting the inside circle of provided targets. Drawing prizes for the pistol shoot are winner's choice of a

Terry Redlin print, $50 cash, and 25 silhouette targets.

 

The shotgun shoot includes 25 clays standing and 25 clays cross shoot. Shooters will receive one drawing ticket for every three clay targets broken. Shooters who break 25 clays will get 25 drawing tickets. Drawing prizes are winner's choice of a shotgun, a 10-bird pheasant hunt at Hillside Shooting Preserve, and 100 clay targets. The range master's decisions regarding each competition are final.

 

For information on ticket sales, call Andrew Arney at (260) 704-5743, Jeff Reed at (260) 468-2165, or the range at (260) 468-2416. The shooting range is located east of Highway 5 on Division Road in Huntington County. Regular hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.  Beginning in September, the range will close at 6 p.m. Hearing and eye protection are required and may be purchased, along with targets and ammunition, from the range master's headquarters at the range.

 

The normal fees for days other than the fun shoot are $4 for adults and $2 for those 16 and under. An annual range pass is available for $80.  The range pass is not interchangeable with regular property entrance permits.  For more information or directions to the range, call (260) 468-2165.


Michigan

DNR Reminds Anglers bout Bait Restrictions

As salmon begin making their way up the state’s rivers from the Great Lakes, the Michigan DNR is reminding anglers that the use of uncertified salmon eggs for bait is restricted in some waters as part of a strategy to slow the spread of VHS.

 

“Generally speaking, if you don’t take any spawn out of the watershed it came from and you fish below the first upstream barrier from the lake, you are fine,” said DNR Fisheries Biologist Gary Whelan. “But remember, you can’t use that roe upstream from the first dam.”

 

Anglers who purchase spawn for bait should look for certified

VHS-disinfected spawn as this bait can be used anywhere in the state.  Certified VHS-free spawn is widely available.

 

VHS, a disease that causes fish to die from internal bleeding, has caused mortalities among a number of species of fish in Michigan. The disease has been found in the Michigan waters of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. VHS has been found in Lake Michigan, but not in the Michigan waters. It has not been found in Lake Superior.

 

“There is no known treatment for VHS,” Whelan said. “Our best defense against it is trying to prevent its spread.”


Crossbow Permit Changes Adopted by NRC

Hunters with permanent disabilities will find it simpler to attain a crossbow permit as the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) streamlined the application process and redefined eligibility requirements at its August meeting in Lansing.

 

The NRC adopted recommendations from its crossbow disability workgroup, which worked for four months to develop new permitting criteria.  The workgroup was made up of representatives from the medical community, bow hunting interests, the Accessibility Advisory Council, general hunting interests, crossbow industry representatives and DNR personnel.

 

Under the new criteria, a physician can automatically certify a hunter as eligible for a crossbow permit if the hunter:

- has an amputation involving body extremities required for stable function to use conventional archery equipment, or,

- has a spinal cord injury resulting in permanent disability to the lower extremities, leaving the applicant permanently non-ambulatory, or

- has a permanent wheelchair restriction.

If none of the above criteria apply, physicians, physical therapist or occupational therapists can certify hunters who fail:

- a functional draw test that equals 35 pounds of resistance and involves holding it for four seconds, or

- A manual muscle test involving the grading of shoulder and elbow flexion and extension, or

- An impaired range-of-motion test involving the shoulder or elbow.

 

In addition, a physician can recommend a crossbow permit for other permanent disabilities, such as neuromuscular conditions. The new regs go into effect immediately and a new simplified application form will be available Aug. 25 at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

 

Meanwhile, the NRC announced it will seek authority from the Legislature to issue crossbow permits for hunters with certain temporary disabilities.  Currently, the NRC has authority to issue crossbow permits only to hunters with permanent disabilities.


Hoffmaster State Park Hosting 15th Annual Sportsmen for Youth Day Sept. 6

P. J. Hoffmaster State Park, in cooperation with the Muskegon Area Sportsmen for Youth, will host the 15th Annual Sportsmen for Youth Day on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

 

This event is hosted each year with the cooperation of area sportsmen and women who volunteer to introduce young people to outdoor sports.  The park's large beach area parking lot will be converted into an outdoor sports show where young people are given the opportunity to try their hand at archery, shooting sports, fishing and many other outdoor activities.

 

There will be special live animal programs such as Birds of Prey by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Snakes by Nature Discovery and Michigan Turtles by the Gillette Visitor Center.

 

Participants under 17 years of age will receive a t-shirt and other souvenirs, a lunch coupon and raffle tickets. Raffle prizes include outdoor equipment and other items. 

Overflow parking is being provided by the Muskegon Motor Cycle Hill Climb Association at their Hill Climb location on Lake Harbor Road. A shuttle service will move participants the short distance from the overflow parking area to Hoffmaster State Park.

 

Hoffmaster State park is located at 6585 Lake Harbor Rd., southwest of Muskegon.  For more information about this event or accessibility accommodations to attend this event, contact the park manager at 231-798-3711 (or TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) at least seven days prior to the event, or view information about these details at www.michigan.gov/hoffmaster.   The facilities at Hoffmaster State Park are ADA-accessible.

 

There is no fee for this special event, but a Michigan State Parks Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter the park. Permits are available at the entrance for $6 for a daily resident permit and $24 for an annual resident permit. Non-Michigan residents can obtain permits for $8 for a daily and $29 for an annual.


NRC Approves Waterfowl Seasons and Regulations

Waterfowl hunters will have 60 days of duck hunting and at least 45 days of goose hunting statewide this fall as a result of Natural Resources Commission action on waterfowl season regulations at its Aug. 14 meeting in Lansing.

 

A big change this year is a new three-zone system for goose hunting with goose zones being the same as current duck hunting zones. The traditional North, Middle and South duck zones now apply to Canada goose hunting as well.

 

Canada goose regular seasons are:

North Zone        Sept. 22 - Nov. 5

Middle Zone       Oct. 4 - Nov. 10, and Nov. 27 - Dec. 3

South Zone        Oct. 11 - Nov. 13, and Nov. 27 – Dec .7

 

The Tuscola/Huron and Saginaw goose management units (GMU) have the same goose season dates as the South zone. There will still be different seasons for the two special goose management zones in southwestern Michigan. The season at the Allegan County GMU is Nov. 8-10 and Dec. 20 - Jan. 30. The season at Muskegon Waste Water GMU is Oct. 14 - Nov. 13 and Dec. 2-15. The daily bag limit is two for all GMUs.

 

The late goose season will be Jan. 3 to Feb. 1, 2009 in all of the South Zone, except the Allegan County and Muskegon Waste Water GMUs.  The daily bag limit during the late season will be five geese, except in GMUs where it is two.

 

In the Middle and South zones, the goose season opener corresponds to the duck season openers. Duck seasons are:

 

North Zone        Oct. 4 - Dec. 2

Middle Zone       Oct. 4 - Nov. 30 and Dec. 6-7

South Zone        Oct. 11 - Dec. 7 and Jan. 3-4

 

The federal framework does not allow a season for canvasback ducks this year.

 

An unusual aspect to the upcoming duck season is a federal framework that allows hunters a two-bird daily bag limit for scaup (bluebills) for only 20 days of the 60-day duck season and just one scaup daily during the remaining 40 days. The 20-day, two-bird seasons for Michigan are Oct. 11-30 in the North Zone; Oct. 18-Nov. 6 in the Middle Zone; Oct. 25 - Nov. 13 in the South Zone. The 20-day seasons were set to correspond to the peak of scaup migration.

 

The daily bag limit is six ducks. Hunters will be allowed to take three wood ducks a day this year, up from two last year. All other daily bag limits for individual species - four mallards, no more than one hen; two redheads; one pintail and one black duck, are the same as last year. In addition, hunters may take up to five mergansers, no more than two of which may be hooded mergansers. The possession limit for waterfowl is twice the daily bag limit.

 

Michigan will once again have a youth waterfowl hunting weekend for all properly licensed youths 10 to 15 years of age.  This season is Sept. 20-21. Youths must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone 18 years of age or older, designated by their parent or guardian.  The adult is not allowed to hunt waterfowl.  Regulations and species restrictions are the same as for the regular waterfowl seasons.


Minnesota

Tournament applications due Sept. 26 to receive preference

People who plan to conduct a Minnesota fishing tournament will be given preference if the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) receives their application by Sept. 26 or the tournament was established before 2001 on a particular body of water. 

 

Applications that arrive after Sept. 26 will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

The DNR:

►only considers preference if the number of tournament applications on a specific body of water exceeds limits, requiring that DNR use a lottery to protect and properly manage the state’s lakes, rivers and streams by limiting the size and frequency of tournaments

►bases the number of tournaments allowed for each lake on lake size

►limits tournament size and frequency on lakes smaller than 55,000 acres as well as rivers and streams

►requires a permit for any open-water tournament that has more than 30 participants, an entry fee of more than $25 and ice fishing contests exceeding 150 participants; and

►does not require a permit for tournaments open only to youth ages 18 and younger.

 

“By limiting the number of contests held on any lake or stream on a monthly basis, we are addressing the concerns of lake users that fishing tournaments disturb their fishing, swimming, boating and other water recreation,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant. “Additionally, we keep two weekends each month free of permitted tournaments.”

 

Specifically, on lakes smaller than 2,000 acres, two tournaments - each limited to no more than 50 boats or 100 participants - per month are allowed. Lakes from 15,000 to

55,000 acres can have five contests per month, three of which

may exceed 50 boats or 100 participants. There are no limits for lakes larger than 55,000 acres. In 2008, DNR issued more than 500 permits statewide for fishing contests.

 

A fee is required for fishing tournament permits. The fee is designed to recover administrative costs, which frees funds for fish management programs. The citizen oversight committee that monitors the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund recommended the change. It became law in 2007.

 

“The popularity of fishing tournaments has increased and our annual administrative expenditures has grown to $108,000,” Stevens said. “We identified the fee as a reasonable way to recover costs.”

 

Under the fee structure, small open-water contests (31-100 participants, 50 or fewer boats) will pay $120, while large open-water contests (more than 100 participants or 50 boats) will pay $400. For contests that involve an off-site weigh-in, where contestants travel with their fish to a location away from the boat landing to weigh their fish, the fee for small open-water contests is $500, while large open-water contests with off-site weigh-ins will pay $1,000.

 

The fee for ice fishing contests (more than 150 participants) of any size is $120.

 

The fee is required at the time of application and is non-refundable except for applications denied following a drawing or withdrawn by the applicant prior to issuance of the permit. Fees may be waived for charitable organizations.

 

Those wishing to have the fee waived should register with the office of the Attorney General’s Charity Division as a charitable non-profit (IRS code 501 C 3) to prove their status. The Web site is available at http://www.ag.state.mn.us


New DNR brochure provides hunters/trappers with information regarding ATV use

The Minnesota DNR has a new brochure that discusses changes that will affect the use of vehicles (ranging from highway licensed cars and trucks to all-terrain vehicles or ATVs) for hunting on public lands across the state.

 

The brochures will be mailed to about 130,000 people who have a registered ATV in the state and also purchased a big game hunting license last year. Brochures will also be available at the DNR Building at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Aug. 21 - Sept. 1.

 

Using ATVs while hunting big game is a privilege, and the responsibility belongs to each hunter to protect that privilege, said Forrest Boe, DNR Trails and Waterways director. Many big game hunters who use ATVs do not consider themselves to be ATV riders; however, they are. This brochure will make

the hunting public more aware of the changing rules regarding ATV use on public lands.

 

Minnesota hunting and trapping regulations as well as Off-Highway Vehicle regulations are available at the DNR Web site and at licensing centers. For complete regulations, consult the state statutes and rules. Hunting and trapping regulations information is available at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting/index.html

 

Off-Highway Vehicle regulations are available at:  www.mndnr.gov/regulations/ohv/index.html 

Go to www.mndnr.gov/ohv/hunting.html  for details regarding use of ATVs while hunting. This information is available in an alternative format upon request. Contact the DNR information Center by e-mail at info@mndnr.gov  or by calling (651) 296-6157 or 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367.)


New York

Teenage DNA detectives expose US fish fraud

SCIENCE NEWS SERVICE --Up to a quarter of fish in stores and restaurants in New York City was mis-labeled as a more expensive variety, according to samples collected by two US teenagers and tested with genetic "bar-coding" methods.

 

In the worst cases, two samples of filleted fish sold as red snapper, caught mostly off the southeast United States and in the Caribbean, were instead the endangered Acadian redfish from the North Atlantic, according to the tests, revealed on Friday. "We never expected these results. People should get what they pay for," said Kate Stoeckle, 18, of the project with Louisa Strauss, 17.

 

The two classmates from New York's Trinity school collected and sent off 60 fish samples to the University of Guelph in Canada. Of 56 samples that could be identified by the DNA bar-coding identification technique, 14 were mislabeled.  In all cases, the fish was labeled as a more costly type, apparently ruling out simple chance. It was the first known student use of DNA bar-coding technology in a public market.

 

Stoeckle's father Mark is an expert in genetic bar-coding – a system that produces a unique readout of a species' genes similar to the black and white barcode stripes often used to identify items sold in shops. 

"Americans spend an estimated $70 billion per year on

seafood and we think authorities should do routine DNA bar-coding of fish," Louisa Strauss said in a statement. Costs of bar-coding run to tens of dollars per sample.

 

The DNA of fish from a sushi restaurant called "white tuna" turned out to be Mozambique tilapia, a cheaper variety often raised on fish farms. One restaurant offered "Mediterranean red mullet" but the DNA matched spotted goatfish from the Caribbean.  The project did not give the names of the restaurants and shops since it was unclear if they were knowingly to blame or had been deceived by suppliers.

 

The findings raise questions about the management of fish stocks, under pressure from overfishing and facing new threats such as climate change. "It bears on a number of issues – food safety, fraud and protection of endangered species," said Bob Hanner of Guelph, who oversaw the analysis of samples. Other imports, such as meat, could also benefit from DNA checks.

 

Scientists have catalogued barcodes for about 46,000 animal species so far. The barcoders are looking to raise $150 million to create 5 million records from 500,000 animal species by 2014 - or a cost of $30 each.


Ohio

Opening day for hunters Sept 1

COLUMBUS, OH - September 1 marks the opening day of the fall hunting season, with Ohio hunters taking to forests, fields and waters in pursuit of some of the state's most popular game, including squirrel, mourning dove and Canada goose.

 

The Ohio DNR predicts hunting for doves and Canada geese will be excellent this year. Squirrel hunting should be good. Hunters should still see good numbers of gray squirrels. They should be most abundant in the forested hills of eastern and southern Ohio. The outlook for fox squirrels is expected to be above average, with small woodlots adjacent to crop fields and trees near rivers and streams the best locales.

 

Rail, moorhen and snipe seasons also open on September 

1.  Teal season opens on September 6 and runs through September 21.

 

Hunting is one of the state's best recreational bargains, with a one-year license for Ohio residents costing just $19. Those hunting waterfowl must also purchase a federal Duck Stamp, along with an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, at a cost of $15 each. Federal Duck Stamps are available at many post offices. Ohio licenses and permits can be purchased from license vendors in the state, or online at wildohio.com.

 

Detailed information on these and other upcoming hunting seasons can be found in the 2008-09 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where  hunting licenses are sold, online at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.


2008-09 Waterfowl Hunting Season Dates Set

Open houses will be held Sept 13, noon to 3:00 pm in all 5 wildlife district offices

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters will again enjoy a 60-day duck hunting season and a six-duck bag limit this year. The 2008-2009 waterfowl hunting season dates have been approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council and are the most liberal regulations allowed by the USFWS, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

The waterfowl hunting seasons are set to open Oct 18 in both Ohio's north and south zones. Hunters 15 years old and younger will have the opportunity to enjoy a special statewide season Oct 4-5. The North Zone duck-hunting season is Oct 18 -Dec 7, with a second season open Dec 20 - Dec 28.  In the South Zone, duck season is Oct 18 - Nov 2, with a second season Dec 6 - Jan 18, 2009. 

 

The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may not include more than four mallards (no more than one may be female), one black duck, one pintail, three wood ducks, two redheads, and three mottled ducks. Due to continuing low breeding populations of lesser scaup, the USFWS has offered a mixed scaup bag limit with 40 days of a one-bird limit and 20 days of a two-bird limit. 

 

As a result, Ohio hunters can take one scaup ( North Zone from October 18 - November 17 and December 20 - December 28; South Zone from  October 18 - November 2 and December 26 - January 18), or two scaup (North Zone from November 18 - December 7; South Zone from  December 6 - December 25). Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit. Hunting season for canvasbacks will be closed. 

 

The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which only two may be hooded. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit.

 

In the Lake Erie Canada Goose Zone, the goose season is Oct 18 - Nov 30 with a second season Dec 3 - Dec 28.  The goose season for the remainder of the North Zone is Oct 18 - Nov 30, with a second season Dec 17 - Jan 11, 2009. In the South Zone, goose season is Oct 18 - Nov 5 with a second season Dec 6 - Jan 25, 2009.

 

The daily bag limit for Canada geese is two.  Light geese (snows, blues, Ross') have a daily bag limit of 10, and white-fronted geese and brant have a daily bag limit of two.  The possession limit for brant and geese is twice the daily bag limit after the first day. The Late Canada Goose Season will not be offered this year.    

People planning to hunt waterfowl are required to answer several questions for the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey when purchasing their hunting licenses.  A state wetland habitat stamp endorsement and a valid and signed federal duck stamp are required when hunting waterfowl, in addition to an Ohio hunting license.  The 2008-2009 hunting licenses and wetland stamps are on sale now and remain valid through February 28, 2009.

 

Copies of this season's waterfowl hunting regulations, which include maps of the zones (Publication 295, Waterfowl Hunting Regulations), will  be available in mid-September to hunters at all license vendors, online at wildohio.com and at Division of Wildlife district offices in Akron,  Athens, Columbus, Findlay and Xenia, or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.

 

Open houses will be held on Saturday, September 13 from noon to 3:00 pm in each of the state's five wildlife district offices to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fish and wildlife regulations with state wildlife officials. Directions to the open houses can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or visiting wildohio.com on the Internet.

 

Topics are proposed rule changes, and include:

*The prohibition of possessing or propagating wild boar

 

*Establishing a minimum fence height for captive white-tailed deer

 

*Requiring mandatory tissue testing of captive deer 12 months of age or older that die or are killed on a permit holder's premise

 

*Giving the ODNR Division of Wildlife authority to enforce the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact agreement. States participating in the agreement share information about fish and game violators and honor each other's decision to deny licenses and permits. For example, if an Ohioan is convicted of a wildlife violation in a participating compact state, the individual's right to hunt and fish also can be suspended or revoked back home, providing a similar action would have resulted had the violation occurred here in Ohio.

 

*Fishing regulations regarding blue catfish bag limits, stream smallmouth bass length limits, and striped bass regulations.

 

A statewide hearing on all the proposed rules will be held at 9 a.m., Thursday, September 25 at the Division of Wildlife's District One Office, 1500 Dublin Rd in Columbus.

 


Pennsylvania

Game Commission presents testimony on License fee increase

CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe delivered testimony before a  Senate Game and Fisheries Committee in support of Senate Bill 1527, sponsored by state Sen. Charles T. McIlhinney Jr. (R-Bucks), who chairs  the Senate committee.

 

Under Sen. McIlhinney's bill, the following increases and decreases would be made to the present license fee structure, which was last changed in 1999:

- Resident hunting license would increase from $20 to $26, July 1, 2009; to $31 July 1, 2012; and to $36 July 1, 2015;

- Resident antlerless deer license would increase from $6 to $13 July 1, 2009; and to $16 July 1, 2015;

- Resident migratory game bird license would increase from $3 to $6 July 1, 2009;

- Nonresident adult hunting license would increase from $101 to $151 July 1, 2009;

- Nonresident junior hunting license would decrease from $41 down to $6 July 1, 2009; and

- Nonresident junior combination hunting license would decrease from $51 down to $9 July 1, 2009.

 

Additionally, Senate Bill 1527 proposes to reduce the number of consecutive days of service Pennsylvania National Guard and Reservist members would have to serve from 180 days to 60 days in order to qualify for reduced license fees.

"Toward the end of the 19th century, a group of conservation-minded sportsmen approached the General Assembly with a novel idea: create an independent agency to restore and protect the Commonwealth's wildlife," Roe said in his prepared testimony. "From this idea came the Pennsylvania Game Commission which for more than 110 years has managed, protected and conserved the Commonwealth's wild birds and mammals, while promoting this state's rich hunting and trapping heritage.

 

"When the Commission was first established it received a few hundred dollars from the general fund to finance its operations. This soon proved to be inadequate and the Commission and sportsmen organizations again came together and petitioned the legislature to create a hunting and trapping license and to designate that revenue from the sale of those licenses would help fund the Game Commission. This was by no means a non-controversial topic, in fact, in 1913 one of the first Commissioners wrote to the governor of the Commonwealth, and pleaded, 'Give us a resident hunter's license law and I will die happy.'

 

"While I do not intend to resort to similar pledges, we are essentially asking for the same thing that our predecessors asked for 95 years ago- adequate funding for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

 


Game Commission seeks public comment on Draft Woodcock Plan

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking public input for the next 30 days on a draft woodcock management plan, which can be reviewed on the agency's website www.pgc.state.pa.us  by clicking on "Draft Woodcock Management Plan" in the center of the homepage.

 

Developed by Bill Palmer, Game Commission biologist, the woodcock management plan provides a comprehensive and current summary of woodcock taxonomy, biology, population trends, habitat relationships and trends, hunter harvest, economic significance, partnerships and population restoration approaches in Pennsylvania.

 

The draft plan has a goal of returning woodcock populations to densities that provide improved hunting and viewing opportunities, and outlines two objectives and 20 strategies to achieve the goal.

 

The first objective focuses on monitoring woodcock populations statewide and on demonstration areas, as well as population demographics, hunter numbers and harvests, and determining woodcock hunter preferences, knowledge

and satisfaction.

 

The second objective is the heart of the plan, and calls for the creation of nearly 800,000 acres of early successional forest habitat on private and public lands.

 

"This will be a significant challenge," Palmer said.  "It will involve monitoring early successional forest trends, identifying and protecting  important breeding and migration habitats, establishing habitat demonstration areas and holding workshops to educate landowners,  developing partnerships with private and public landowners and conservation groups, creating habitat, identifying landowner preferences, and  securing the funding to accomplish the habitat work."

 

Public comments on the agency's woodcock management plan will be accepted until Sept. 19, via the website or by mail to: Woodcock Management Plan, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

 

The upcoming woodcock hunting season in Pennsylvania will open Oct. 18, and continue through Nov. 15.  The daily limit is three, and the possession limit is six.


Wisconsin

Online video shows $15.9 million renovation to Wild Rose Fish Hatchery

WILD ROSE - Anglers and local residents on Aug. 18 joined Gov. Jim Doyle and Wisconsin DNR Secretary Matt Frank in celebrating the grand opening of new trout and salmon facilities at century-old Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery.

Video clips from the event, along with more information about the three-phase project to bring this workhorse of the state's fish stocking program into the 21st century is available here: Wild Rose Hatchery Renovation Video

VIDEO Length 5:45]


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