Week of January 2, 2006

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World

IGFA restores 50 year-old smallmouth bass record

DANIA BEACH, Fla., ­ For all you folks who've been hoping to topple the smallmouth world record, your job just became a bit harder.  After an intense investigation of documents, many from 50 years ago, the International Game Fish Association, the organization which among its duties maintains world records for both freshwater and saltwater game fishes, has reinstated a record for the biggest smallmouth bass ever caught.

 

While fishing Dale Hollow Lake on the Tennessee/Kentucky line, July 8, 1955, David Hayes, Litchfield, Ky., caught the biggest smallmouth bass of his life. He brought it to a nearby marina which weighed the catch at 11- 15 oz and measured at 27” long, with a 21⅔” girth.

 

Hayes entered the fish for a record with Field & Stream magazine which, at the time, was the keeper of freshwater records. Field & Stream granted Hayes' fish a record for the heaviest smallmouth bass ever taken on rod and reel, and in 1978, when the IGFA took over freshwater record keeping from Field & Stream, it was then granted a world all-tackle record by the IGFA.

 

On August 17, 1955, unbeknownst to Field & Stream or the IGFA, Raymond Barlow submitted an affidavit to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stating that Hayes' fish had only weighed 8 lb 15 oz and that he had stuffed three pounds of metal in the fishes' mouth and stomach to make it a record. It wasn't until 40 years later when the affidavit was uncovered that the IGFA was contacted and informed about the sworn statement.

"The IGFA's policy has always been to investigate standing records when proof is brought forward challenging its legitimacy," said Jason Schratwieser, IGFA Conservation Director. "After reviewing the affidavit, the IGFA in 1996 rescinded Hayes' record and a 10 lb 14 oz smallmouth caught by John Gorman in 1969, also on Dale Hollow Lake, was recognized as the new IGFA All-Tackle record.

 

However, Schratwieser said, recent documentation, including polygraph results, was supplied to the IGFA indicating that David Hayes' fish was never tampered with. "Further investigation also found that the dimensions of Hayes' fish would make it very unlikely to weigh 8 lb 15 oz when you compare it to the previous (Gorman's) All-Tackle fish's dimensions of 26" in length and 21" in girth. Based on this information, the IGFA decided to reinstate David Hayes' catch as the All-Tackle smallmouth bass record."

 

Schratwieser said the IGFA wishes to congratulate Mr. Hayes on a true catch of a lifetime and welcomes him back to his rightful place in the IGFA World Records.                 

 

The decision will be recognized in the IGFA's forthcoming 2006 World Record Game Fishes annual released worldwide.

 

Founded in 1939, the IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping.

IGFA members are located in over 125 countries and territories. The IGFA welcomes visitors to its 60,000-sq. ft. interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum at its headquarters in Dania Beach, Fla. The IGFA home number is 954-927-2628 and web site is www.igfa.org .


Muskie Record is challenged

Washington --Don't you just love stories about people who set fishing records only to have them challenged by fellow anglers, some simply jealous and some with legitimate doubts? For example, there is the ongoing battle about a world-record 10 lb 14-oz smallmouth bass from Tennessee that some say wasn't weighed and recorded properly more than 30 years ago.

   

Then there was the woman who several years ago hooked a largemouth bass in the 21 lb range that would have shattered the California record. The trouble was her fish apparently was fond of eating sinkers. A heavy lead weight was found in this bigmouth's belly.

   

The Washington Times reports AP writer Robert Imrie says a group of muskie fishermen is attacking a 56-year-old record. From Hayward, Wis., Imrie writes, "The legend of fishing great Louis Spray, who in 1949 caught a muskie that the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame here honors as the world's largest, is under attack. Big time."

   

Imrie says a group of Illinois muskie fishermen wants Spray's fish added to the list of muskie crimes of the century. The muskie, listed at 69 lb, 11 oz couldn't have weighed that much say the challengers.

   

I don't know why anyone cares about that because the IGFA, the world's most widely recognized record-keeping body, has a 67½ lb muskie on its record books. It came from Lac Courte Oreilles in Wisconsin and was caught by Cal Johnson, also in 1949.

   

Apparently Rich Delaney, a teacher in Oak Park, Ill., and the

president of the World Record Muskie Alliance, worries more about the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Delaney told Imrie, "We hope that at the end of this process, basically the brass ring of this sport is going to be untarnished once and for all."

 

In the northern and Midwestern states, of course, catching a huge muskie is the stuff that dreams are made of. Delaney is aware that an attack on Spray's record might result in public loathing of the challenger. Spray, after all, was a highly respected angler in those parts.

   

Meanwhile, Delaney says Spray was a cheat who knew how to turn his catch into "cold, hard cash" during lean economic years. Emmett Brown, executive director of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, said the group's protest of the record will be reviewed in the next several weeks.

   

Spray's nephew, Charlie Ross, a muskie fishing guide and convenience store owner in Rhinelander, Wis., told the AP he was befuddled by the attack on his uncle's world record and added, "I think a lot of it is just jealousy."

   

The World Record Muskie Alliance hired a Canadian company to analyze photographs of Spray's muskie (a taxidermy mount of the fish was destroyed in a 1959 fire). In the photo, Spray's known height and the fish's reported 63½-inch length are compared, and the result, according to the Canadian firm, is that the muskie weighed no more than 55 pounds. That suggests Spray filled it with something, perhaps ice or sand, before it was weighed.

   

Spray died in Arizona at age 84 in 1984. He committed suicide.


Australia 1st to sign treaty limiting ballast hitchhikers

The marine environment will have greater protection from introduced pests now that Australia has signed an international agreement on ships' ballast water, says Australian Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Warren Truss.

           

Australia June 7 became the first country to sign the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, an initiative of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London. An IMO Conference adopted the treaty early last year.

           

The treaty requires that whenever possible ballast water exchanges shall be conducted at least 200 nautical miles from the nearest land and in water at least 200 meters (656 ft.)

in depth. In cases where the ship is unable to conduct such ballast water exchanges, this should be as far from the nearest land as possible, and in all cases at least 50 nautical miles from the nearest land and in water at least 200 meters in depth.

 

The IMO notes that ballast water is responsible for some serious health problems. "Some cholera epidemics appear to be directly associated with ballast water," says the organization.

           

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments will come into force 12 months after ratification by 30 countries, representing 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage.


IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame enshrines five men

Seventh annual Rolex sponsored event honors contributions to the sport of fishing

DANIA BEACH, Fla. --- Five men, Stuart “Stu” C. Apte, John L. Morris, George Parker, Donald J. Tyson and Edward vom Hofe, were enshrined Dec. 11, into the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame.

 

The 2005 inductees, their contributions and induction speeches included:

           

Stu Apte, of Tavernier, Fla. an all-around angler considered a pioneer in fly fishing for tarpon. In the 1960s Apte developed a huge following as a Florida Keys guide. He’s also a writer, photographer and holder of more than 40 IGFA world records.  

           

John L. Morris who is best known as the founder of Bass Pro Shops, one of the world’s leading suppliers of fishing tackle and of Tracker Boats. Morris is a five-time qualifier for the Bassmaster Classic, an ardent conservationist and an IGFA Trustee Emeritus. He resides in Springfield, Mo.

           

George Parker is one of the first captains to charter regularly out of Kona, Hawaii. He caught Hawaii’s first blue marlin over 1,000 lb in 1954, then went head-to-head with scientists until the grander was properly identified as a Pacific blue marlin.   

 

Donald J. Tyson, who was unable to attend the induction, is a passionate bill fisherman dedicated to tagging and releasing

the world’s great fish for future generations.  As an IGFA Trustee, he has played a major role in making the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum a reality.  He has a home in Springdale, Ark.

 

Edward vom Hofe, who was inducted posthumously, produced fly and salmon reels in the mid and late 1800s, then began responding to the demands of saltwater anglers as well.  Vom Hofe reels were known for their craftsmanship and dependability, the reel of choice for well-heeled, blue water fishermen.  He died in 1920 at the age of 74.

             

The honorees are selected each year for the important contributions they have made to the sport of fishing through angling achievements, literature, the arts, science, education, invention, communication, or administration of fishery resources. The five men now bring to 60 Hall of Fame members enshrined including Ernest Hemingway, Zane Grey, Curt Gowdy, Michael and Helen Lerner, Philip Wylie, Ted Williams, Ray Scott, Roland Martin, Billy Pate and Lee Wulff.

           

Founded in 1939, the IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping. IGFA members are located in over 125 countries and territories worldwide.  The IGFA welcomes visitors to its 60,000-sq. ft .interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum headquartered in Dania Beach, Fla.  The IGFA web site can be found at www.igfa.org .


National

Icon of Chicago outdoor communications passes

Ray Gray, 92, long-time outdoor editor of the now defunct Chicago's American and the Chicago Today Newspapers and was the voice of the Great Outdoors on WGN Radio during the '50s and 60's passed away on December 27. An avid outdoorsman, Ray spent his life hunting and fishing, while writing about it and making friends around the world.

 

Ray attended Northwestern University, where he took

journalism courses, went on to work for the UPI news bureau, and as an outdoor writer, covered mainly hunting and fishing. He was president of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers in 1962. As recently as June 2005 he and his wife Margaret of 65 years were seen being escorted around the annual meeting of OWAA renewing old acquaintances at Madison, WI. Ray passed away quietly at his summer home in Twin Lakes, Wis.


Kids Fishing Events Offer Family Fun

Sign up now to bring this positive event to your community – deadline is Jan 31, 2006

Tulsa, Okla. --There is still time for communities and local organizations to sign up for hosting a fun turn-key youth fishing derby in 2006, but the deadline for doing so is fast approaching, January 31, 2006.

 

The fishing program is Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing presented by Zebco (KAAF). The reason for the early deadline is because the free-of- charge KAAF Derby Organizer Support Kits are built in advance based on approved event registrations.

 

Bringing a KAAF derby to a community is a simple process for just about any kind of organization willing to plan, coordinate, and host an on-the-water fishing event for local youth. More information, and the on- line application, are available at

www.kids-fishing.com .

 

KAAF event organizers also have the unique opportunity to

partner with local Wal-Mart stores to help increase the community experience. As title sponsor, Wal-Mart is encouraging its local stores to work with KAAF event organizers to help promote the derby, register participants, and host pre-derby hands-on activities (store participation may vary by area).

 

Kids All-American Fishing enjoys corporate support from a select group of companies committed to enriching America’s youth including title sponsor Wal-Mart stores, Inc. and presenting sponsor Zebco. Other companies partnering in the program are Banana Boat, Castrol, Eagle Claw, Fishingworld.com, Fujifilm, Keebler, Kellogg’s, Laker Fishing, Repel and Wet Ones.

 

KAAF is a program of HOFI, Inc., a Tulsa, Oklahoma, company. Since 1987, more than eight million youngsters and their families have participated in the program at events held throughout all 50 states and at U.S. military bases as far away as England, Germany, South Korea, and Japan.     Visit www.kids-fishing.com


New Cutter Mackinaw damages bow

CO of Coast Guard Icebreaker temporarily relieved

The Coast Guard’s newest cutter, the Great Lakes icebreaker Mackinaw, ran into a seawall December 12, causing damage to its bow. The Mac, operating in a special status because it has yet to be commissioned, was entering port in Grand Haven, Mich, when it veered to starboard and struck the wall.

 

A Coast Guard spokesman said the service has launched an investigation into the accident. Coast Guard naval engineers have begun assessing the extent of damage to the 240-ft ship.  The commanding officer, Capt. Don Triner, a veteran with 21 years in the service, was temporarily relieved following the incident on December 15 by Rear Adm. Robert J. Papp, the 9th District commander. Triner is staying on board as technical adviser on the new ship while Capt. Mike Hudson assumes temporary command.

 

The Grand Haven visit was among a series of stops the new icebreaker made along Lake Michigan on its inaugural shakedown cruise, designed to acquaint the crew to the high-tech ship and to uncover any problems. The cruise included stops in Milwaukee, Chicago and Grand Haven.

 

The Mac has a specialized, fortified bow that allows it to slice ice up to 10 feet thick. It appeared that a 10-by-10-foot section of the bow was dented. The Mackinaw rammed a section of the boardwalk leading to the south pier as it entered Grand Haven Channel. The impact left a scar of red paint, ruptured the boardwalk seawall and created a visible dent on the Mackinaw's starboard bow. Damage to the $90 million ship appeared to be minimal and there were no crew injuries.

 

“A break wall, obviously, is more substantial than 10 ft of ice,” said Chief Public Affairs Specialist Jeffrey Hall, a spokesman for the 9th District.

 

The Coast Guard gained possession of the Mackinaw on Nov.

19. It is set to be commissioned in summer 2006. The ship is the Coast Guard’s most technologically advanced icebreaker. It has an electronic bridge and an Azipod electronic propulsion system that consists of two submerged electric motors that move 360 degrees independently of one another, Hall said.  It is the only Coast Guard vessel with such a propulsion system, Hall added.

 

This summer, the new ship will replace the old Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which is 290 feet long, with a beam of 74 feet. The old Mackinaw, a frequent visitor to the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, currently is the largest United States Coast Guard Cutter assigned to the Great Lakes.

 

The new Mackinaw is about 50 ft smaller, with a length of 240 feet and a beam of 58.5 feet. It was built by the Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis., at a cost of $90 million. It is capable of more than just breaking ice in the Great Lakes. It can also service buoys, respond to oil spill situations and perform search and rescue missions.

 

Triner noted the original Mackinaw had a crew of 130. Because of technological advancements, the new Mackinaw has a crew of only 56 and serves the dual role of icebreaker and buoy tender.  The older Mackinaw was the most powerful and capable icebreaker in the world when it was launched, but is now in its twilight of useful service with its outdated systems and single-mission capability, officials said. "The sheer size of it is what gets people. It's so long and it's so wide," said Ensign Elizabeth Newton, public affairs officer for the older Mackinaw.

 

Once the old Mackinaw is retired, the new Mackinaw will be the biggest Coast Guard ship on the Great Lakes.

     

Local officials hope to turn the older ship into a maritime museum in Cheboygan once it's decommissioned. They await final approval of the project in Washington, D.C.


Landmark Legislation Introduced to Improve America’s Waters

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Landmark legislation introduced by Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) of the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee addresses America’s growing infrastructure funding crisis.

 

The Clean Water Trust Act of 2005 (H.R. 4560) will provide $7.35 billion annually to improve America’s waters. The Clean Water Trust Act will:

       Help urban and rural communities protect public health and the environment by restoring the federal-state-local financial partnership necessary to achieve the goals of the Clean Water Act ;

       Create a dedicated, deficit-neutral Clean Water Trust Fund, similar to those that successfully finance highways and airports; 

       Address the U.S. EPA’s estimated clean water funding gap $300-500 billion; and

       Guarantee that over 30 years of water quality progress under the Clean Water Act is continued

 

The Clean Water Trust Act will enhance fisheries through controlling sewer overflows, improving wetlands, encouraging research, spurring new technologies, enhancing investment in small and rural utilities and protecting critical regional waters such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico.


Commercial Fishermen Form National Organization to Push Their Causes

GRANTS PASS, Ore (AP). — Long splintered into small groups, commercial fishermen are putting together a national organization to promote their image and press their interests before Congress.

 

The Commercial Fishermen of America announced its formation this month in Seattle and hopes to be up and running by spring. The David & Lucille Packard Foundation, which funds marine conservation programs, provided a $50,000 startup grant.

 

"Given that politics is just becoming ever more omnipresent and unavoidable, we felt it was high time we got organized to represent the interests of all fishermen at a national level," said Jeremy Brown, a salmon and albacore troller from Bellingham, Wash., who is serving on the organizing committee.

 

Until now, one of the main national advocacy groups for the fishing industry in Washington, D.C., has been the National Fisheries Institute, which represents seafood processors, restaurants and distributors. But Zeke Grader, executive

director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, said the group does not adequately represent the fishermen.

 

"Their concerns are very different from those of the fishermen, in some instances 180 degrees apart," he said.

 

National issues facing commercial fishermen include reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act, the primary federal law governing fisheries management. Other issues include health care and workers compensation, pollution and protecting port facilities.  Since 1990, annual commercial fisheries landings of all species in the U.S. have remained static at about 10 billion lbs worth about $3.6 billion, according to the NOAA Fisheries Service, the federal agency that overseas ocean fishing.

 

Besides the practical problems facing commercial fishermen, Brown said the public by and large does not have an accurate understanding of what they do. "What we want to focus on from the outset is to promote the notion of the professional fisherman and the quality food he provides to the consumer," Brown added.


The high stakes in ANWR

By Bill Frist, originally posted in the Washington Times December 25

High gas prices, soaring home heating bills, and ever-rising electricity tabs all are reminders of a stark reality: The United States needs to find new sources of affordable energy.

 

Late last month, however, Senate Democrats set back our nation's quest for an improved menu of energy options when they blocked a bill that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration.

  

ANWR isn't a place of great natural beauty: It's a mostly barren coastal plain that already features a small village, a landing strip, power lines and even a small oil well.

   

Opening the area to environmentally sensitive oil exploration would improve the U.S. energy market, create new jobs, and produce billions of dollars in new wealth. Once its oil fields reach full capacity, ANWR could produce about 1 million barrels of oil daily and thus raise domestic production about 25 percent. ANWR alone could replace more than 60 percent of our oil imports from Saudi Arabia. The development would create more than a half-million jobs, lower world gas prices and add almost $400 billion to the U.S. economy.

  

Developing ANWR would also pay national security dividends: We now import nearly 60 percent of our oil. Some of it comes from allies like Canada and Norway. But large quantities also come from nations whose leaders have struck decidedly adversarial postures toward the United States. Some of the leading exporters of terrorism, indeed, also export oil.

   

And development need not hurt wildlife. Thanks to new drilling technologies, all the equipment needed to explore ANWR's resources would fit into an area about the size of Dulles Airport. ANWR itself comprises more square miles than West 

Virginia and the total area eligible for exploration is about size of Delaware. Tiny drill sites can explore vast areas and 99.9 percent of ANWR will remain untouched.

 

Oil companies would have to meet the world's toughest environmental standards, pledge to protect wildlife, and restore the areas to their pre-exploration standards or better.

 

Many environmental groups whose members oppose ANWR exploration know firsthand that oil development can co-exist with wildlife: The Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy both have leased their own sanctuaries for oil exploration.

   

While ANWR oil exploration will pay enormous dividends, it doesn't offer an all-purpose solution to America's energy woes. Last summer, Congress passed and the president signed an energy bill that offers a balanced strategy based on increased production, enhanced use of renewable energy sources, additional conservation measures, and an aggressive effort to develop new technologies.

  

The energy bill, however, only represented the first building block of a comprehensive energy independence strategy. Many of its most important provisions make long-term investments that will not yield dividends for several years.

    In coming months, I plan to work with the White House and members of Congress from both parties to explore ways we can build on the progress we made with the energy bill.

   

The needs of our economy and the mandates of national security require that we adopt an energy strategy that unlocks ANWR's vast oil reserves. When Congress reconvenes next year, I will look for ways we can raise the issue again and give it the consideration it deserves.

Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, is the U.S. Senate majority leader.


Regional

Sea Grant Regional Fishery Workshop Jan 7
Michigan Sea Grant is holding its annual Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop on Saturday, January 7, at the Ramada Inn of Ludington, 4079 W U.S. 10, Ludington. As in the past you
will find the program informative, timely, and educational. Key speakers will address biological and policy issues affecting t

he Lake Michigan fisheries. Registration in advance is $15, or $18 at the door.

 

For more information contact Chuck Pistis, 616-846-8250, msue70@msu.edu . For lodging reservations at the
Ramada Inn, 800-707-7475.


DNR director calling it quits

Enters the New Year unemployed and happy

Joel Brunsvold, director of the Illinois DNR for nearly three years, called it quits Saturday December 31.  He announced his surprising and premature retirement last Tuesday. No timetable has been set for naming a replacement, although Brunsvold said he had notified Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office of his intentions.

 

Assistant director Sam Flood will serve as interim director. Part of Flood's job has been to oversee completion of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex under construction near Sparta.

 

The DNR has seen stark reductions in budget and staff in recent years. In 2004 and early 2005, the agency let more than

120 employees go in two rounds of layoffs. The General Assembly approved a fiscal 2006 budget for DNR of about $193.7 million last spring, up from $189.6 million the previous year.  Brunsvold said he has endured lows in the budget cycle, both as a state legislator for 20 years and as DNR director.  Brunsvold said budgets are simply a product of the economic climate at the time.  About a dozen park superintendents were included in the last round of layoffs about a year ago.

 

Brunsvold said he is especially pleased with progress on the World Shooting and Recreational Complex near Sparta a project he says is "unprecedented in economic development." Brunsvold also said a new computerized licensing system, called DNR Direct, should streamline the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. The system is being tested at about 20 locations in the state.


Brown bullheads may have questionable parentage

Ann Arbor, MI — While some species of bullhead catfish may look the same to the average person, they are not the same to biologists. Distinguishing individuals of one species from another can be difficult, but is important for ecological studies in the Great Lakes. An additional problem with species identification is that many fish cross-breed, or hybridizes, with closely related species.

 

Researchers at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College compared conventional identification methods such as body coloration and shape with molecular tools (DNA fingerprinting) to identify the same individual brown bullhead from Presque Isle Bay in Lake Erie.

 

"Comparing these two approaches revealed that although all

of the brown bullheads taken from Presque Isle Bay appeared identical, some carried genetic traits of the closely related black bullhead," says David Hunnicutt, a molecular biologist at Penn State Erie. "This may indicate that the two species hybridize."

 

Brown bullheads and other species are used by researchers to determine the health of the aquatic ecosystem, including tracking the recovery of Presque Isle Bay and other areas of concern in the Great Lakes.

 

For more information about this study, contact Margaret A. Voss, School of Science, Penn State Erie, mav11@psu.edu ; (814) 898-6292.

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for December 30, 2005

Lake Level Conditions

All of the Great Lakes are 3 to 8 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is expected to fall 3 inches over the next month, but will remain above chart datum in December.  Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should decline 1 inch over the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair’s level has risen this week due to snowmelt and heavy rainfall, but is expected to fall 4 inches to its predicted level over the next month.  Lake Erie is expected to be at the same level in 30 days while Lake Ontario is expected to fall 1 inch.  Levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2004/2005.   See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of December.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers are anticipated to be below average during December.  St. Lawrence River flow is projected to be above average in December.

 

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. Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page.

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Expected water level for Dec 30 in ft

601.3

577.0

573.5

570.4

244.5

Chart datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum, in inches

+2

-6

+14

+15

+15

Diff from last month, in inches

-3

-2

+7

-1

-3

Diff from last year in inches

-3

-8

-6

-6

-3


Canada

Spotted Owl Crisis Prompts First Legal Test of Canada's Species Law

VANCOUVER, BC (ENS) - Only 23 spotted owls remain in British Columbia, and last month environmental groups filed the first legal action of its kind under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, seeking federal government intervention to protect the critically endangered bird.

 

Sierra Legal Defence Fund is representing the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics and Environmental Defence in the application for judicial review before the Federal Court of Canada. “We will not sit on the sidelines and watch the B.C. government log the spotted owl’s habitat until this creature disappears from Canada,” said Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. “We are demanding Canada’s Minister of the Environment enforce the law to protect animals such as the spotted owl.”

 

In 2005, B.C. government biologists found only 23 owls, an 84 % decline in the past decade. The main threat to the owls is the loss of their old-growth forest habitat. The British Columbia government, through its Timber Sales Program, is the largest logger in owl habitat.

 

Under the three year old Species at Risk Act, if a province does not take adequate action to protect species, the federal government can step in using an emergency provision. The legal action seeks to force Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion to use the emergency provisions of the law to protect the spotted owl in British Columbia.

 

Historically estimated at 500 pairs, spotted owls once thrived in southwestern British Columbia, the only place in Canada where they exist. The B.C. Spotted Owl Recovery Team predicted 10 years ago that the owls could go extinct by the year 2010 unless logging in their habitat was halted.  The issue is complicated by the fact that British Columbia is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and does not want negative publicity about spotted owl extinction to cloud its reputation while the world's attention is focused on the province.

 

Spotted owls do not depend on rabbits for prey and logging of their old-growth forest habitat is considered to be the biggest cause of their decline.  Conservationists are calling for an end to old-growth logging within the Canadian range of the owl bounded by Vancouver, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope, Lytton, Boston Bar, Lillooet, Pemberton, and Whistler.

 

The federal court case is the last legal avenue for defending the spotted owl. If won, the case may create sufficient pressure to bring about provincial or federal action to protect other species at risk. If lost, the case will at the very least expose British Columbia’s and Canada’s weak laws and shameful record in protecting its declining biodiversity, said the plaintiff groups in a report issued concurrently with the announcement of legal action.

 

The report, "In Defence of Canada's Spotted Owl," details the provincial government's attitude towards spotted owl recovery.

 

In October 2004, seven months before a provincial election, the BC Liberal government led by Premier Gordon Campbell created a Species at Risk Coordination Office (SARCO) to, they said, address mounting public concern for the future of three endangered species: spotted owl, mountain caribou and marbled murrelet. The government announced that the Office’s mandate included “collaborating across government to ensure B.C.’s approach to the management and, where appropriate, recovery of provincial species at risk is second to none.”

 

"Considered by conservationists to be a hollow gesture by a

government wishing to 'green' itself before an election, SARCO was hamstrung at the outset by insufficient funding, a lack of expertise, and high-level political intransigence regarding species protection," the report states.  SARCO prioritizes species for recovery based on whether globally significant populations exist in or outside of British Columbia.

 

The conservation groups maintain that SARCO intends to apply its “global filter" to eliminate the provincial government's responsibility to protect species at risk because the vast majority of BC’s endangered species are on the periphery of their range or “not globally significant.”

 

For a provincial species at risk to be considered as a top priority for protection by SARCO it would need to be an endemic population that only existed in British Columbia.

 

The prevention of further extinctions is a minimum expectation for Canada’s national endangered species law, says Dr. Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence. “If the Species at Risk Act cannot prevent the spotted owl from being snuffed out in our country, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.”

 

"We want the minister of environment to make an emergency order under the Species At Risk Act to protect the owl," said Smith in an interview.  "The Spotted Owl Recovery Team in B.C. has developed an array of options for owl conservation. That report was released over 10 years ago, yet none of those options has been pursued," Smith said.

 

On October 3, environmental organizations met with representatives from the Species at Risk Coordination Office to discuss recovery strategies for the spotted owl. At the meeting, SARCO presented four options they were considering to address the spotted owl crisis.

The options ranged from protection and recruitment of habitat, complemented by population augmentation (such as captive breeding), to deferring or eliminating additional habitat protection and relying almost solely on captive breeding.

 

Conservationists pointed out that to recover the spotted owl to a sustainable population of 125 pairs, habitat protection, combined with population augmentation, is "the only scientifically credible option."

 

In the United States, the Seattle and Kittitas Audubon societies have launched a similar lawsuit and will join forces with the Canadian efforts. On November 3, the Washington groups sent a 60 day notice of legal action to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and officials of U.S. Timberlands Company, which is logging in owl habitat.

 

The Audubon groups are asking that the timber company and the state agency "immediately enter into discussions with them to review the adequacy of state forest practice regulations to prevent harm to owls."

 

If discussions do not occur or do not appear to be leading toward successful revisions of the current spotted owl management scheme, Audubon says it intends to ask the U.S. District Court to enjoin logging activities and the permitting of logging activities that cause take of owls in the state.

 

In British Columbia, the government is not living up to its obligations under the national accord for species at risk that committed all provinces and the federal government to work together to conserve endangered species, said Smith. "This issue the most simple imaginable - is the government of Canada going to the let the species go extinct or not?"

 


Canada’s Chief Justice Says Courts Must Ignore Written Laws

McLachlin Favours  Judge-Decided Unwritten “Norms”

WELLINGTON,  (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court of Canada’s Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin, believes the rule of law “requires” Justices to ignore the actual written law, as passed by democratic legislatures, in favor of unwritten ideological principles. McLachlin told an audience at New Zealand’s Victoria University that laws must be interpreted according to the individual preferences of Justices for “norms that are essential to a nation's history, identity, values and legal system.”

 

That these norms are known only to the justices on the Supreme Court seems not to have deterred McLachlin or the Supreme Court. McLachlin laid out her plan for the re-engineering of Canadian – or any like-minded liberal society – away from democratic principles saying, “The rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile public opinion.”

 

Vice President of REAL Women of Canada, Gwen Landoldt, told LifeSiteNews.com that McLachlin’s open call for Justices to enshrine their personal political opinions to supersede the written law shows a “total lack of understanding of the principles of democracy.”

 

Landoldt said the problem will continue until the appointment process is made in keeping with democratic principles of transparency. “The appointment process must be reworked to allow for public hearings. Canadians must be able to protect their country from a woman like this.”

McLachlin told the law students that Justices must be “emboldened” to supersede even the letter of such foundational documents as a nation’s constitution and that their role ought to supersede that of elected representatives. “I believe that judges have the duty to insist that legislative and executive branches of government conform to certain established and fundamental norms, even in times of trouble,” she said.

 

Opposition justice critic, Vic Toews, spoke to LifeSiteNews.com saying, “It concerns me very much to hear our Chief Justice say that judges don’t have to follow what is set out in the law for them. If judges don’t have to follow the constitution, what will guide them?”

“I’m hoping that she was taken out of context, that she was not suggesting that she can ignore the very clear requirements of the constitution,” said Toews. “Only Parliament is qualified to change the constitution.”

 

Toews said that prior to the end of the last Parliament, Justice Committee witnesses overwhelmingly felt that the appointment system needed reform. “There is a clear perception by the Canadian public that judicial appointments are politically motivated. That status quo is no longer accepted.”

 

Gwen Landoldt said that the current appointment system in Canada, in which the Prime Minister and his appointed Justice Minister appoint all Supreme Court Justices without public oversight amounts to the abolition of a separation of powers, a foundational principle of any democracy. “In Canada right now, the Justice system is a tool of the Liberal Party and its agenda. They’re hand in glove,” Landoldt said.


General

Season's Best Deals, Largest Selection & Family Fun on Deck

Big Outdoors Show in Midwest Showcases Boats, RVs, Accessories, but there’s one near you, too

CHICAGO– Those interested in the largest selection of new boats and RVs from top manufacturers at the best deals of the season, plus a functioning indoor river and all-terrain vehicle course, will find something for the entire family at the 2006 Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show. Escape the wintry weather by visiting McCormick Place January 11 – 15, where outdoor enthusiasts will converge under one roof for the largest outdoors show in the Midwest to view, board and buy everything needed for summer fun.

 

Sport Shows abound throughout the country. Attending them may even be what doctors prescribe for the perennial disease of cabin fever.  It is great family fun and offers excellent entertainment and ideas for vacation planning.  There's one in your area and you can find them at: http://www.great-lakes.org/sports_shows.html

 

“The Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show is designed for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels looking to buy, browse

and just have a good time. Summer may be a few months away, but Show visitors get a glimpse at the latest and greatest products for warm weather adventures at the best deals of the season.

 

Visitors to the 2006 Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show will find a variety of special features, including:

ATV Demo Course

Anglers’ Alley

Fishing Seminars with folks like Babe Winkelman and Ted Takasaki

Huck Finn Trout Pond

Photography Clinic

RV Lifestyle Seminars

Wakeboard & Waterski Clinic

 

The Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show runs January 11-15, 2006 at Chicago’s McCormick Place – North Building,.

Consumers looking for more information on the 2006 Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show should visit www.ChicagoBoatShow.com or call 312-946-6272 for complete details.   For a show near you go to: http://www.great-lakes.org/sports_shows.html


Bass Pro Shops plans new opening in Bolingbrook, IL

The Promenade at Bolingbrook lured a big catch with the addition of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the premier destination outdoor retailer; it was announced by developer Forest City Enterprises, Inc.  Construction of the 143,000 sq-ft store along with a 7,500 sq-ft restaurant is tentatively scheduled to begin in early 2006 and is anticipated to open in December 2006.

 

 The Promenade at Bolingbrook, which is only the second Illinois location for the outdoor mega-store, is located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. The Bass Pro Shops at The Promenade at Bolingbrook will offer the same signature features of Bass Pro Shops stores nationwide.  Part museum, art gallery, education, conservation and entertainment center, the facility will house a huge selection of fishing, hunting, camping, and marine items, plus clothing, gift and footwear departments.  The store will also feature the complete line of world-famous Tracker and Nitro boats in an expansive showroom and boat service center.

 

Each Bass Pro Shops store is unique in architectural design and themed to the region the store is in. The Bolingbrook store promises to be an eye-opener as well.  In addition to its rustic interior and lodge-style exterior, the store will include features such as an aquarium stocked with native fish species, a waterfall, archery range, laser arcade, and more.

 

The store’s close proximity to the Great Lakes means shoppers can expect to find a wide variety of fishing and boating accessories in addition to hunting, camping, hiking and other outdoor gear.  The Bass Pro Shops at The

Promenade at Bolingbrook is projected to provide up to 300 jobs for local residents.  Due to its prime location near the Illinois State Toll Highways 355 & 55, the Bolingbrook location is expected to draw shoppers from throughout the region and serve as a tourist attraction for out-of-state visitors.

 

Headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, Bass Pro Shops currently has 27 locations in 17 states across the United States and one location in Canada.  The stores attract over 75 million visitors a year.  For more information on Bass Pro Shops stores, products and events, visit their web site www.basspro.com .

 

The Promenade at Bolingbrook is a 1.1-million-square-foot retail center that is being built on two separate pieces of undeveloped land and will be linked to form a seamless shopping destination covering more than 121 acres.  Construction is in process on the first phase, which includes a 310,000-square-foot IKEA.  This phase, on the north side of Boughton Road, will house other nationally known home décor and hard goods tenants. 

 

Marshall Field’s Bolingbrook will open in phase II, a 633,000-square-foot lifestyle marketplace also consisting of a mix of well-known national and local tenants.

 

Forest City Enterprises, Inc. is a $7.4 billion NYSE-listed national real estate company. The Company is principally engaged in the ownership, development, acquisition and management of mixed-use projects, retail centers, apartment communities, office buildings and land development projects throughout the United States.


 

Michigan

Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Guidelines for 2006

The Michigan DNR announced changes to the drawing guidelines for the Black Lake sturgeon spearing season designed to simplify the process for participating anglers and to notify successful anglers well in advance of the season.

 

Sturgeon spearing on Black Lake, located in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties, will be limited to successful lottery participants selected by random drawing.

 

The Black Lake sturgeon spearing season opens Feb. 4, 2006 and runs through Feb. 12 or until the total harvest of five fish has been reached. Twenty-five tags will be issued on a daily basis to successful applicants until the maximum harvest level is reached or the season is completed.

 

Interested anglers are advised to register for the spearing lottery during the Jan. 9-13 application period. To register for the lottery drawing, anglers should call 989-732-3541 or apply in person at the DNR Gaylord Operations Service Center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the application period. All applicants 17 years and older must hold a valid Michigan fishing license. Those under 17 years old may still register for the season. Those applying for the drawing should have proper identification on hand during the application process. This may include a valid driver's license, a Michigan ID card, a DNR sportscard or a Michigan fishing license.

 

A 7 p.m. drawing on Jan. 14 will be held at the Chateau North located at 10641 Twin Lakes Rd. in Cheboygan. A total of 225

anglers, or 25 a day, will be selected to fish Feb. 4-12. Successful applicants will be notified of their date to fish by mail in advance of the season, an update on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr  under the Fishing section or by calling the Gaylord DNR Operations Service Center at 989-732-3541. The phone line will be updated each night after 7 o'clock and will list the successful anglers for the following day, as well as an update of harvest results or if the season has closed.

 

Successful anglers in the lottery drawing may fish between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. the day they are eligible to fish. A 36-inch minimum size limit applies. Anglers will receive a tag and marking flags issued in their name for their day of fishing. These materials may be picked up at the Onaway DNR field office beginning at 7 a.m. each day. The Onaway field office is located four and one-quarter miles north of Onaway on M-211 Highway. These materials must be returned to the same location by 6 p.m. each day. Anglers wishing to call the Onaway office during the spearing season can call 989-733-8775.

 

Fishing tags are not transferable and anglers must present proper identification when picking up materials. Unclaimed fishing tags will be made available to anglers present at the registration station by means of a secondary drawing to begin fishing each fishing day at 10 a.m. Thus, anglers have the potential to fish both one time in the primary drawing and one time in the secondary drawing.


DNR Secures Funding for Critical Hamlin Dam Project

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has secured a $1,164,533 federal sport Fish Restoration Program grant, which will cover about 75 percent of the cost to rehabilitate the Hamlin Dam at Ludington State Park. In addition, $535,467 has been appropriated from the Michigan State Waterways fund in the 2006 budget to close the gap to enable the Hamlin Dam project to move forward.

 

Hamlin Dam was constructed in 1913 and deeded to the state of Michigan in 1935. The repair will ensure future access to the diverse recreation opportunities at Ludington State Park and preserve the natural resources and ecosystems of the dune shoreline community.

 

In 2002, an inspection by the Department of Environmental

Quality classified the dam's hazard potential as "high" and recommended immediate repair. The project will address needed structural repairs to the dam's concrete and replacement, and updating of the old wood stop log control mechanism for the lake.

 

 "The combination of grant funds and the appropriation from the Waterways Fund will ensure that use of inland waterways, sport fishing and other water-based recreation can continue in this area," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.

 

Competitive bids will be sought from contractors with construction expected to begin in spring of 2006. Work is scheduled to minimize impact to visitors and property owners and their recreation opportunities.


Coast Guard helps recover sunken boat

GRAND MARAIS - U.S. Coast Guard officials last week recovered a tribal fishing vessel that sunk in Lake Superior while moored at the Grand Marais Harbor.  6 ft waves and strong winds pushed water over the back of The Alice L, owned by Ernie Matson of Munising.   The vessel sank in about 10 feet of water.

 

David Bell, owner of the Bayshore Market and volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary member, reported the sinking to township officials shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday.  After inspecting the situation, township officials notified emergency dispatchers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

U.S. Coast Guard officials from Sault Ste. Marie were sent to the area, along with a team to control diesel fuel spillage estimated at 30 gallons.  Initially, the fuel appeared to have spread in front and behind the sunken boat near the dock. But by late Monday, the diesel had dissipated or moved under ice floes which had returned to the marina.

 

After assessing the situation, Coast Guard officials were overseeing recovery of the vessel from the bottom of the lake. After several tries to right the boat, enough cable was wrapped around the vessel to retrieve it from the harbor.

 


December Elk Hunt Completed

Department of Natural Resource officials announced that 80 elk were harvested during the December elk season. In the last 20 years, 4,783 elk licenses have been issued resulting in the harvest of 3,984 elk.

 

The objective is to maintain the winter herd at 800 to 900 elk in a four-county range that includes Montmorency, Cheboygan, Presque Isle and Otsego counties. The elk herd has expanded outside the traditional four-county elk range and can now also be found in Alpena, Alcona, Emmet, Charlevoix, and Oscoda counties as well, DNR officials said.

 

Eighty-eight hunters were selected through a statewide lottery

open only to Michigan residents. An early elk hunt occurred in late August and early September.  Thirty elk were taken during that hunt. Those selected are required to attend an orientation course for the hunt and are assigned antlerless-only licenses or hunter's-choice licenses, which allow the harvest of a bull.  Of the 88 hunters drawn for the December hunt, 87 participated. Hunters took 33 bull elk and 47 antlerless elk.

 

Wildlife managers reinstated hunting in 1984 to ensure that Michigan's elk remain in balance with their environment. "Elk hunts have helped maintain the elk population within the established goal and are instrumental in managing elk outside their traditional range," said Bill Moritz, Wildlife Division chief.


MI Lawmakers adopt property rights

Proposal now goes to voters for approval in November

The Michigan Legislature has become the first in the nation to adopt a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit the government from taking private property from its owner and giving it to a private interest for economic-development purposes or to increase tax revenues.

   

Both houses of the Michigan Legislature overwhelmingly adopted the resolution on December 13. The signature of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat, is not required. The resolution now goes to the Office of the Michigan Secretary of State for placement on the Michigan ballot in November.

   

Lawmakers in four other states -- Alabama, Delaware, Texas and Ohio -- have passed legislation designed to limit abuse of eminent domain since the U.S. Supreme Court issued a

ruling June 23 in the case of Kelo v. City of New London. The high court's 5-4 decision upheld a Connecticut city's ability to force homeowners to sell properties that are slated to be torn down to build a commercial waterfront project.

 

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows the government to take private property for public use. This traditionally has meant land to build highways, roads and schools. The owners are paid what the government considers fair market value for the condemned properties.  In the Kelo case, the Supreme Court was asked whether economic-development projects that transform private property into other private uses -- shopping centers, residential developments, or industrial or office parks -- constitute a "public purpose." Justice John Paul Stevens and four other justices decided they do.


Learn to Make Snowshoes at Ludington State Park Jan 8, 22, 30, 31

Ludington State Park is hosting a series of snowshoe-making workshops this winter at the park's warming shelter. The workshops will be held, Jan. 8 and Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, from 6 to 9 p.m.

 

Participants will make a pair of traditional white ash

snowshoes that will last for generations. The $110 registration fee includes all materials and equipment needed to make one pair of snowshoes. Class sizes are limited and reservations are needed. To make a reservation, please call Ludington State Park at (231) 843-9261. A state park motor vehicle permit is required for entry and can be purchased at the park office.


New York

Hunter license info to remain confidential: court

Albany County Supreme Court Judge William McCarthy ruled in favor of the DEC and against the NY State Assembly seeking a judgment compelling the NYSDEC to release information on hunting license buyers.  The decision indicates that the information will not become public.

 

The Assembly was seeking a judgment compelling the DEC to provide license buyers’ personal information but the court agreed the information should remain private. DEC Director of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Gerald Barnhart gave sworn testimony to support the reasoning for not giving out the information.  The “DECALS” program provides the buyers first & last name, suffix, gender, height, eye color, date of birth,

driver’s license id number, customer id number, state residency, notation of blindness, military service, disability, fulfillment information, preference points, e-mail address, residential address and telephone number.  The New York State Conservation Council maintained that this information should not be released.

 

The court, stated: “Identity theft, without question, is becoming one of the fastest growing criminal offenses in the twenty-first century.  Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission estimates that in a five-year period prior to early 2003 in the US alone, there were 27.3 million reported cases of identity theft alone.”


Ohio

Team Taft and Ohio's Fishery Economics

By Tom Mayher

Fishing is the nation’s biggest out door sport, generating over 36 billion dollars annually as result of the average fisher person spending more than $1,000 each year in pursuit of his favorite fish. A recent Harris poll finds that nationwide, sport fishing has been steady for the last ten years. In 2004 there was a 2% increase in national license sales according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

   

During Governor Taft's tenure, Ohio’s fishing license sales has declined from 1,168,134 in 1999 to 692,188 in 2004 - that's about 40%.

 

This huge decline resulted in a loss of over $450,000,000 in economic impact for Ohio’s economy last year alone. No doubt Ohio is number one in the decline of fishing license sales across the nation. Something is drastically wrong and this huge loss demands the Governor's immediate attention as in most likely will continue. There is no doubt that Lake Erie’s walleye fishing is Ohio’s big money fish. The harvest of this very valuable fish has declined by 50% since he took

office.

 

The total allowable catch in 1998 was a bit over 10 million walleyes and now it is only about 1/3 of that figure, which reflects a huge decline in the walleye’s population. Our managers are responsible for this huge decline. It is time for a major shake up to get Ohio back on the right track.  We need either new managers or a new system to manage our once very profitable sport fishing industry. 

 

For the Governor to do nothing would indicate that he has very little interest Ohio's fisheries and our economy. Obviously he is willing to tolerate such a huge loss that will probably continue because his administration has no plans to reverse this trend. Apparently the Governor is satisfied with the poor performance of the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Chief of Ohio's Department of Wildlife. This decline rests squarely on his shoulders; either he has chosen the wrong Director and or Chief or their rouge management policies don't work.

 Tom Mayher is Chairman of the North Coast Sportfishing Association and GLSFC's Ohio Director.


Bill to Protect Sportsmen's Dollars Sent to Governor

(Columbus) -- A bill that prevents the diversion of hunting and fishing license dollars to pay for non-conservation programs today received unanimous support in the Ohio Senate.

 

In a victory for conservation and sportsmen, the Senate passed HB 367 by a vote of 32 to 0.  The bill contains a provision to prevent sportsmen's dollars from being used to pay administrative costs of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The bill now goes to Gov. Bob Taft's desk.

The system by which agencies of the ODNR contribute to administrative fees that it charges to each of its divisions is called Central Support.  The state's General Revenue Fund covers Central Support costs for most divisions within the department.

 

House Bill 367 was introduced by Rep. Charles Calvert, R-Medina, and co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Buehrer, R-Delta.  It contains language that appeared in an Ohio budget bill that passed in June.  The language had overwhelming support in the legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. Taft.


Pennsylvania

Snakeheads found in the Delaware River

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officials have confirmed what they long suspected: northern snakeheads — aggressive, predatory fish imported from Asia — are in the river and probably growing in number.

 

''This is certainly not a shocking discovery,'' said agency spokesman Dan Tredinnick, noting that snakeheads first showed up in Meadow Lake at Philadelphia's FDR Park in July 2004. Snakeheads first showed up in a Maryland pond in 2002. They were dubbed Frankenfish because of their voracious appetite, menacing looks and ability to travel short distances over land by using their fins as legs. They can live out of water for several days.

 

Now that snakeheads are in the Delaware, officials say they could eventually spread throughout the drainage, possibly even swimming upstream to the Lehigh Valley and taking a left turn into the Lehigh River at Easton.

 

Fisheries biologists say the snakehead, which has a hearty appetite and can reproduce quickly, could displace native species or disrupt the aquatic ecosystem. Exotic species can bring parasites and diseases or cause genetic pollution of closely related species, according to the commission.

 

The Delaware is renowned among anglers for excellent populations of smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleyes, catfish, shad, various panfish and other species.

The snakehead caught in the Delaware is the first confirmed specimen outside Meadow Lake. However, Tredinnick said officials assume there are more and that snakeheads are already well established in the river.  ''In a waterway as large as the Delaware River, there's really nothing pro-active that can be done in terms of going after them,'' Tredinnick said. ''We consider our role at this point one of monitoring.''

 

He said anglers who catch snakeheads should kill the fish and notify the agency.  ''If you catch one, what we would like you to do is euthanize it and dispose of it properly,'' Tredinnick said. ''If you want to eat it, eat it. If you want to throw it in a trash can, throw it in a trash can. What we don't want people doing is returning them to the water.''   Commission officials say they have no idea how northern snakeheads got into Meadow Lake, but it is likely they were released into it.

 

Possession of a live snakehead is illegal in Pennsylvania and punishable by a $100 fine or up to 20 days in jail. Earlier this year, Rep. Doug Reichley, R-Lehigh, sponsored legislation that would make the penalties even stiffer by increasing snakehead possession from a summary offense to a third-degree misdemeanor.

 

Snakeheads exist in at least eight other states — New York, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida and California. A related species, the giant snakehead, has been found in Wisconsin's Rock River.


Game Commission picks Roe as next Exec Director

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners voted unanimously to select Carl Roe to serve as the agency's new executive director.  Roe will succeed Vern Ross, current executive director, when he retires on Dec. 31.  Ross announced his retirement at the Board's meeting on June 28.

 

Roe currently serves as the agency's Bureau of Administrative Services director, and has spearheaded the effort to implement an electronic license sale system, commonly referred to as "point-of-sale."  In 2001, Roe joined the agency as its first ever long-range strategic planner, and has continued in his current position to oversee the implementation of the agency's Strategic Plan.

 

After serving with the U.S. Army from 1970 to 2000, Roe retired with the rank of colonel, and had taken part in two combat

tours in Vietnam and El Salvador. Other overseas tours included Germany and Panama.  His last position was as director of Americas Studies at the U.S. Army War College's Department of National Security Strategy, where he taught strategic planning for national security. Prior to that, Roe served as garrison commander at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. At Fort Bliss, Roe also had responsibility for wildlife management practices impacting more than 2,000 species on more than 1.1 million acres of land.

 

A native of Wayne, Montgomery County, Roe grew up hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania, and continued these activities during his young adulthood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the National Rifle Association.  Roe currently resides in Carlisle with his wife, Ines.  They have two daughters: Courtney and Ashley.


Governor Signs Families Afield Bill

Encourages more youths to take up hunting

Harrisburg - Pennsylvania has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation designed to encourage more young people to take up hunting in an effort to increase sportsmen’s numbers. 

 

On Dec. 22, Gov. Ed Rendell signed HB 1690, authorizing the Pennsylvania Game Commission to create a mentored youth hunting program.  The bill is part of the Families Afield campaign.  The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, introduced Families Afield in an effort to counteract the declining numbers of sportsmen by boosting the recruitment rate of young people in the outdoor sports.

 

The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed HB 1690 on

Dec. 13.  Rep. Bruce Smith, R-Dillsburg, originally introduced the bill to allow the hunting of coyotes over bait. Sen. Joe Conti, R-Doylestown, Chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, attached the mentored youth hunting language to the bill.

 

On Dec. 14, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Senate’s amendment and sent it to the Governor’s desk.

 

For further information about the Families Afield program, contact Rob Sexton of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance at (614) 888-4868, Tammy Sapp of the National Wild Turkey Federation at (800) THE-NWTF; Steve Wagner of the National Shooting Sports Foundation at (203) 426-1320.

 


Ontario

Province treats the Pefferlaw River with rotenone

Acts to protect Simcoe Lake from goby invasion

Ontario recently took a pro-active approach to the discovery of round goby in Pefferlaw Brook, a tributary of Lake Simcoe, southern Ontario’s largest inland lake that supports an exceptional recreational fishery valued at about $2 million annually.

 

It is also the province’s most popular tourist destination for U.S. perch anglers. Given the far ranging impacts of goby in the Great Lakes we wanted to try to prevent the spread into Lake Simcoe.

 

After they were discovered, fisheries officials implemented an intensive surveillance program to determine the distribution of goby in the Pefferlaw and be sure that they were not already in Lake Simcoe or another tributary while they considered possible control or eradication options.

 

Although a barrier was one of the options being looked at, goby began to move rapidly downstream and reached the mouth prior to fisheries experts being able act. It was at that 

point the decision was made that rotenone was the only option to attempt to eradicate before goby became established in Lake Simcoe.  Surveillance had not detected goby anywhere but in the 5 km stretch of the river.

 

Other chemicals were considered but it was determined they had to go with rotenone since it is the only product registered for use as a piscicide in Canada.

 

The actual treatment occurred the week of October 17th and observed lots of dead goby. Over the next field season fisheries folks will continue their surveillance to determine if the treatment was successful at eradicating goby in the river, and to monitor the fish and benthic community post treatment. The most likely pathway of entry was through the bait trade, either directly by licensed harvesters/dealers or by careless/illegal angler practices.

 

OMNR acknowledges only time will tell if they have been successful but regardless, much was learned from the process. They intend to use this to build their rapid response capability.


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