Michigan Catch and Cook

 DNR Director Keith Creagh, NRC Chairman Tim Nichols, along with radio host Tom Lounsberry, Bill Parker of Michigan Outdoor News, and outdoor columnist Bob Gwizdz, joined “Stray Cat” charter boat captain John Giszczak to catch Yellow Perch on Lake Erie, as part of the state’s new Michigan Catch & Cook program. The fisherman later enjoyed their catch at Trapperz Tavern, in La Salle, Mi. For additional information on MI Catch & Cook, visit http://www.michigancatchandcook.com/

Catch and Cook

Michigan Catch and Cook Program

Catch & Cook allows charter fishing clients who catch fish from Michigan’s Great Lakes an opportunity to take their fresh catch to a participating Michigan restaurant to cook and serve those fish to those clients.

Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Charter Boat Association, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Restaurant Association are pleased to partner on Catch & Cook – an effort to promote and encourage creative, yet safe, marketing of Michigan Great Lakes sports fish through a partnership with the charter fishing industry and local restaurants.

Could the sounds of spawning lure lake trout?

Lake trout make noise in bed, according to new research by Great Lakes scientists.

The species commonly growl, snap, quiver and thump while spawning, according to a study in the “Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.”

The report may cause a smirk, but researchers say the findings are serious.

“Peeping on spawning lake trout with a camera and microphone could be the premise of an interesting comedy skit, but also makes for interesting science that could help improve how fish populations are monitored,” said Nick Johnson, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists could potentially use the audio sounds to lure fish to spawning areas, Johnson said.

Lake Trout

Lake Trout

“If you walk down the street and hear a party going you might want to check it out,” he said. “There are historical reefs in the Great Lakes that are no longer being used for spawning . . . we may be able to play back the sounds of reproduction to lure in the trout and try to get them interested in spawning there.”

Johnson led a team that included researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Windsor and the University of Vermont, and that recorded spawning lake trout with cameras and hydrophones. Hydrophones are underwater microphones that detect the sounds of boats, waves and the quietest fish.

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Don’t allow fish farms in Michigan waters

03-03-2016

By Howard A. Tanner                                                                

One of my frustrations in my retirement has been a difficulty in speaking out on issues that are of some concern to me. Being 92 has its limitations – but my friends assure me, it’s not limited my expertise.

But I’m speaking out today to express my strong opposition to aquaculture in the waters and connecting rivers of the Great Lakes – including the Au Sable River.

When I think of Michigan’s latest infatuation with aquaculture – be it in Grayling on the Au Sable River, or in the Great Lakes – I am reminded of a saying: Some people learn from their mistakes. Smart people learn from the mistakes of others.

There are many mistakes to learn from when it comes to using our public waters as the sewers for private companies raising and selling fish. All around the globe, fish farming in public waters has led to water pollution, spread of fish disease, and widespread opposition by those who have to live with the visual pollution and other consequences of fish farming.

We here in Michigan have labored for sixty years to make our lakes clean. We are leaders of all matters related to the Great Lakes. Half the population of Michigan gets its water from the Great Lakes, part of 30 million people in the basin who rely on the lakes for drinking water. Maintaining the cleanliness of this water should be the top priority for state and federal officials.

The phosphate emissions from the fish in one net pen operation is the equivalent of the phosphate emissions from a sewer plant for 10,000 people. This fish sewage will create filamentous algae, which will wash up on nearby beaches, rot and stink. If this is going to be a $1 billion industry, as advocates say, there will be about 100 net pen operations, filling virtually every bay of any size in Michigan’s portion of the Great Lakes. Imagine one in Grand Traverse Bay, or in front of the Grand Hotel, or in the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix.

Already, the lakes are under pressure, with algae blooms from high phosphorous levels (the kind virtually guaranteed to grow with fish farming) creating toxins forcing closure of water intakes in cities including Cleveland and Toledo in recent years. Will Rogers once counseled wise men should drink upstream from the herd – but many of Michigan’s major cities would be downstream from this herd of fish.

Any mistakes in the Great Lakes are uncorrectable. People advocating for aquaculture talk about adaptive management – when they make a mistake, they will correct it. But in a huge area, you can’t make a correction.

And the impact of a mistake on a river like the Au Sable could easily damage the river, and its economic potential, for generations. The addition of more than 1,500 pounds of algae-creating phosphorous a year from the proposed Grayling fish farm will be devastating to the river’s ecosystem.

People have learned this the hard way in Norway and in Chile, where massive net penning operations have collapsed financially. As can easily be expected when you put that many animals into a confined area, the fish farms have introduced diseases into the natural population. Today, the natural Atlantic Salmon fishery in the North Atlantic is shrinking. It’s an ecological disaster.

These same patterns are seen in flow-through fish farms, such as the one being developed on the Au Sable. They all do the same thing – they make no pretense of treating the fecal and urine matter of a large number of animals. They discharge that matter into the public water – our drinking water, for many communities on the Great Lakes.

I know these issues well. I grew up in Bellaire, and guided anglers on the Chain O’ Lakes. I fished the “Holy Waters” with George Griffiths, and stayed at his beloved “Barbless Hook” on the banks of Au Sable.

I studied fish and their habitats – including an experiment where I looked into the impact of adding nutrients to six lakes. My conclusion: This was a big mistake. And I was part of a team that introduced salmon into the Great Lakes.

So it’s with a love of Michigan’s great waters, experience as a scientist and teacher and the understanding of the pressures facing regulators gained through a long career with the Department of Natural Resources that I speak today.

Michigan shouldn’t be inviting any industry into our state that says, “don’t make us treat our waste. Let us dump it into your fresh water.”

You wouldn’t put a pigpen in a rose garden. It’s just common sense.

Don’t put fish farms on our rivers or in our Great Lakes. It’s just common sense.

bridgemi.com/2016/03/dont-allow-fish-farms-in-michigan-waters

Michigan and Ohio’s walleye, yellow perch populations stable for 2014

WINDSOR, Ontario – There will be no changes in the Ohio bag limits for Lake Erie walleye or yellow perch for 2014 after the Lake Erie Committee (LEC) of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission reported at its annual meeting that the walleye population is healthier than expected, while schools of yellow perch are in a mild slump. Michigan will not set walleye bag limits until May 1st 2014 for Lake Erie.

The Ohio walleye bag limit for Lake Erie will remain at six fish per day, four during the spring spawning season from March 1-April 30, said Jeff Tyson, head of Lake Erie fisheries management for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The yellow perch daily bag limit will continue to be 30 for the popular pan-sized fish.

The increase in Lake Erie’s walleye population estimate was a surprise, following mediocre spawning seasons. The jump in walleye numbers was the result of the LEC’s new population assessment model for determining how many walleye are swimming in Lake Erie. The new model increased the estimated size of the walleye population to more than 22 million fish.

“The new model was developed by the Lake Erie Percid Management Advisory Group and Michigan State University,” said Tyson. “It used studies that ran the gamut of fisheries assessments, fish harvested, effort by sport and commercial fishermen, age composition of the harvest, as well as a wide range of other data.”

Tyson is comfortable with the new model, even though the last few classes of walleye have been low to average. The bonanza year class of 2003 still makes up an overwhelming 30 percent of the population. They’re now trophy fish, ensuring Lake Erie’s status as the Walleye Capital of the World, but fishermen and fisheries managers have to wonder how long that single class can buoy Lake Erie’s walleye fishery.

The total allowable catch (TAC) for Lake Erie walleye was set at 4.027 million fish, a noticeable jump from a TAC of 3.356 million in 2013. Ohio gets the lion’s share of 2.058 million fish, up from 1.715 million in 2013, with Ontario allocated 1.734 million walleye. Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York get small shares of the TAC.

Ohio does not allow commercial fishing for walleye, and sport anglers have not come close to catching Ohio’s quota of walleye in decades. In Ontario, commercial walleye fishing dominates. Even with reduced effort in recent years, netters have been able to catch the majority of the Ontario quota.

Tyson is hopeful the 2014 walleye hatch will be a good one.

“We’ve seen a pattern of decent hatches associated with fairly severe winters, like we’ve had this year,” Tyson said. “It’s only one factor, though. The success of the hatch also depends on the right precipitation in the spring, gradual warming rates, survival of walleye eggs on the reefs and forage availability for larval and juvenile fish.”