Week of February 1, 2010

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
National

Regional

2nd Amendment Issues
Lake Superior
Lake Huron

Indiana
Minnesota
New York
Other Breaking News Items

Federal funding for cormorant harassment on Oneida Lake is cut for 2010 Cormorant harassment program for Oneida Lake has been cut out of the federal budget for 2010. That means the adult birds, which each eat an average of one pound of fish a day, will have free rein.

Opposition against Galloo Island Wind Farm grows As the proposed Gallo Island Wind Farm project moves closer to becoming a reality, the opposition against it continues to rise and spread to neighboring counties.

New laboratory will study effects of consumer chemicals on aquatic life

A new $4.6-million, state-of-the-art research facility at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters will be used to try to better understand the environmental consequences of everyday chemicals and contaminants.

MNR vessels being built in Wheatley  While many companies are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, Hike Metal is abuzz with work on its latest project -a $4.35-million contract for two new vessels for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Johnson Outdoors files patent-infringement lawsuit over sonar fish-finding equipment Johnson Outdoors announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Navico Inc for selling certain fish-finding equipment.

Governors await date to discuss Asian carp Great Lakes governors should learn this week when and where the Obama Administration plans to meet with them to address the Asian carp crisis.

EDITORIAL: The White House needs to step in to stop the Asian carp's advance on the Great Lakes U.S. Supreme Court justices who refused last week to issue an injunction forcing closure of Illinois shipping locks against Asian carp need to be overruled by wiser political minds.

Cox wants U.S. Supreme Court to revisit Asian carp issue Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says the U.S. Supreme Court was not told the whole story before it refused to shut down a Chicago shipping canal to stop the Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

At center of offshore wind farm debate: How close to shore? How close is too close? That question is one of the first — and, so far, the thorniest — to address in the debate over locating wind turbines on the Great Lakes.

EDITORIAL: Time's almost up for stopping carp Mich. Sen. Carl Levin is trying to order the poison. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Dave Camp are asking their colleagues in Congress to close up the waterways. Will enough people listen?
EDITORIAL: What Obama can do The President has a chance to do something much more effective than hosting a summit to protect the lakes - and he is failing to do so. Obama could order a temporary closing of locks in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

States' attorneys general request presence at Obama carp summit Political heat is cranking up on President Obama to take more dramatic steps to block the advance of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.
Danger posed by carp is questioned "A few fish getting into Lake Michigan doesn't mean there's a population there," said Duane Chapman, a leading Asian carp expert with the USGS in Missouri. "It's the numbers that invade the lakes that will ultimately determine whether they have a chance to get established."

Asian carp crisis heading to Congress U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., introduced a bill on the House floor to force the closing of two locks and expand the powers of the Army Corps of Engineers to stop migration of the invasive species before it reaches the Great Lakes in large numbers. The bill, dubbed the Carp Act…

Army Corps to sample 2 Indiana rivers for Asian carpThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to collect water samples this spring from two northwestern Indiana Rivers that flow into Lake Michigan as part of its ongoing efforts to track the spread of invasive Asian carp. Major Gen. John Peabody of the Army Corps' Cincinnati office said samples will be taken from Indiana's portions of the Grand Calumet and Little Calumet

Setback for Ontario in war on Asian carp  The Ontario government is examining its legal options after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to force Illinois to close shipping locks leading to the Great Lakes in order to stop the spread of the Asian carp.
Levin, Dingell join push for fed funds to fight Asian carp Washington -- Two Michigan lawmakers Thursday joined four colleagues in asking for money to be spent this year and next on chemicals that'll help combat the invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Obama adviser calls carp summit President Barack Obama’s top adviser on environmental policy said she would convene a meeting with Great Lakes governors on the threat of Asian carp.
EDITORIAL: Time for talk is over Talk is good. It’s also cheap. But it’s not going to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. At least it hasn’t so far.

EDITORIAL: Wind power is far from leaving port Michiganians do not have to worry about, or be excited over, the prospect of lake-based wind turbines anytime soon.
Invasive species 'a slow-motion wildfire' Invasive species – from zebra mussels and round gobies to the bloody red shrimp discovered three years ago – are one of the top threats to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

EDITORIAL: Michigan is in real bind on Asian carp Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the rest of Michigan are in a bind. They don't want the carp to gain a foothold in the Great Lakes, but are nearly powerless to stop that result.

 

 

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Warrant issued for trucker accused of transporting zebra mussels

OLYMPIA--An arrest warrant has been issued for a commercial trucker from Michigan charged with transporting invasive zebra mussels into Washington State aboard a 50-foot cabin cruiser. The charges stem from the delivery of a Sea Ray cabin cruiser from Lake Michigan to Washington.

 

David Derderian, 44, of Fraser, Michigan, was charged in Kittitas County Lower District Court last November with

unlawful transportation of a deleterious exotic species and

making false statements to law enforcement officers.

 

The court issued a warrant for Derderian's arrest when he failed to appear for his arraignment Jan. 13, said Michael Boska, deputy prosecutor for Kittitas County. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) also referred the case to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service for consideration of federal charges for interstate transport of the invasive mussels, which would be a violation of the Lacey Act.


National

Congress to seek more money to fight Asian carp

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP) -- From poisons to nets to electric jolts, authorities are studying a series of desperate measures to ward off an invasion of the Great Lakes by hefty, hungry Asian carp.

 

More than a dozen members of Congress from the region agreed January 27 to seek $20 million for developing ways to prevent the carp from becoming established in the lakes and jeopardizing the fishing industry by starving out competitors such as salmon and walleye.

 

Among the options: stepped-up use of poisons, biological controls and commercial fishing. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies also may quicken construction of another electric barrier and improve methods of determining how many carp are advancing toward Lake Michigan in Chicago waterways.

 

Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who hosted the strategy session in Washington, D.C., said the lawmakers remained divided over whether to close Chicago shipping locks and gates that could be doorways to Lake Michigan for the carp.

 

Michigan and four other states are pressing a lawsuit demanding closure of the locks, even though the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected their request for an immediate order. Illinois and the Obama administration say there's no guarantee closing the locks would block the carp’s path, but it definitely would disrupt shipping and promote flooding.

 

"There's clear disagreement about closing the locks and I knew we couldn't resolve that issue today," Durbin said. "But I wanted to find some common objectives that we could move forward on aggressively and quickly, and we have."

 

The White House has agreed to meet early next month with

governors from the region to discuss the carp problem. 

 

Charlie Wooley, deputy Midwestern director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acknowledged that much of the $20 million proposed by Congress would be used to develop methods still in the idea stage.  They were proposed in a wide-ranging Asian carp control plan released in 2007 by a task force of government, business and academic specialists. The document outlines a two-decade, nationwide crackdown on the carp, which have infested numerous waterways including parts of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers.

 

Wooley said it recommends a "gauntlet" of devices to repel carp advancing toward Lake Michigan in the Chicago waterways. In addition to an electric barrier already there, the obstacles might include sound transmissions, flashing lights and bubble curtains that would repel them.  While those measures are being perfected, authorities could take more immediate actions such as encouraging commercial netting and treatment of specific areas with poisons as was done last December in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Wooley said.

 

The Army Corps expects to finish constructing a third electric barrier in the canal by October and will study how to operate the locks in ways  that make it harder for carp to slip through, said Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the Chicago district.

 

Also on the drawing board are plans for what to do if the carp make their way into Lake Michigan. Barriers could be placed on rivers where they try to spawn. Scientists could use biological attractions to lure the carp to places where they could be poisoned.  "Even if the fish develop a spawning population in the Great Lakes, there are things we can do to control them, as we already do with the sea lamprey," said Duane Chapman, a U.S. Geological Survey fisheries biologist. "But it won't be cheap."

 


Regional

Carp Summit scheduled for February 8

The White House has set an official date for the Asian Carp Summit. Governor Jennifer Granholm, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will meet with high ranking officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior, and

 

the Coast Guard on February 8th, 2010, to discuss how to keep the asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Michigan AG Mike Cox, who requested that he and other attorneys general from Great Lakes states be included in the discussion, was not invited to the summit.


Forget Carp, Deadly Fish Virus now in all Great Lakes

A deadly fish virus - viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus - first discovered in the Northeast in 2005, has been found for the  first time in Lake Superior. The virus is now in all of the Great Lakes.

 

The viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), which causes fatal anemia and hemorrhaging in many fish species, poses no threat to  humans, said Paul Bowser, professor of aquatic animal medicine at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine.

 

Bowser and colleagues recently tested 874 fish from seven sites in Lake Superior in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)  Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle. Fish from Paradise and Skanee in Michigan and St. Louis Bay and Superior Bay in Wisconsin  tested positive. Some of the results have been corroborated by other laboratories; others have tests still under way.

 

The virus, which has been identified in 28 freshwater fish species in the Great Lakes watershed, has reached epidemic proportions in the Great  Lakes and threatens New York's sport-fishing industry, said Bowser, estimated to contribute

 

 

some $1.4 billion annually to New York's  economy.

 

People come from all over the eastern United States to fish the Great Lakes," said Bowser, noting that the virus has also been found in a few  inland waters as well, including lakes, streams and a family-owned earthen pond. "The economy of many of these areas ebbs and flows with  the season and perceived value of outdoor recreational opportunities. The value of these opportunities is dependent on how successful we  are at managing the health of wild fish. On a worldwide basis, VHSV is considered one of the most serious pathogens of fish, because it kills  so many fish, is not treatable and infects a broad range of fish species."

 

While no significant fish mortality due to VHSV was observed in 2008 and 2009, "It is important to note that there are still fish harboring  VHSV; essentially the infection proceeds even though no mortalities are being observed," said Bowser. "This is important because it  suggests that these infected fish may serve as a reservoir for the virus in the Great Lakes ecosystem. While we don't fully understand the lack  of recent mortality, the potential presence or absence of stressors on the fish may be playing a role."


Hoekstra meets with administration on Asian Carp

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, on January 27, responded to a briefing with federal administration officials on its plan to address preventing Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. "Several ideas and bipartisan solutions were discussed to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes," Hoekstra said. "There is no single arrow in the quiver. Solutions will need to be based upon managerial, chemical, engineering and structural components."

 

The administration discussed several techniques such as air-

 

bubble barriers, acoustic barriers, electrical barriers, temporarily closing the locks, wider application of fish poisoning, harvesting techniques, monitoring improvements and eco-separation.

 

"What we need now is the authority and coordination to implement these options," Hoekstra said. "I share in their optimism that there are many options to control Asian carp infestation. The most important thing is that we act."

 


U.S. Coast Guard rescues three in Saginaw Bay

CLEVELAND - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit rescued three ice fishermen in Saginaw Bay, Mich., January 26, when they were unable to return to shore due to a widening crack in the ice.  “We picked up one individual on the first hoist, ferried

him to shore, and then went and picked up the other two,” said Lt. Brian Ward, co-pilot of the rescue helicopter. “All three appeared to be wearing survival suits.”  All three were transported to shore with no apparent injuries.


2nd Amendment Issues

Expulsion for guns in truck overturned by education board

In the end, the case of a Willows, California teenager expelled for having hunting guns in his pickup truck parked next to campus didn't focus on gun rights.  It became a question of whether the authority of school officials to enforce the state's Education Code extended to the school fence – or a sidewalk's width beyond it.

 

On January 22, members of the Glenn County Board of Education drew the line at the gates of Willows High School. They ruled that officials in the Willows Unified School District had exceeded their authority when they expelled Gary Tudesko – a 17-year-old with a history of disciplinary problems – for leaving two shotguns and ammunition in his truck parked a few feet from the school's tennis courts on a public street.

 

"The district governing board acted in excess of its jurisdiction to expel the Pupil," the board wrote in its decision. The elected board members said they would not comment on their decision because disciplinary proceedings are normally confidential. The board's hearing Tuesday, at which members heard legal arguments, was open to the public at Tudesko's parents' request.

 

On the morning of Oct. 26, Tudesko and a friend went waterfowl hunting. Tudesko brought the guns to school so he wouldn't be late. He said he knew he couldn't bring them on campus but thought it was OK to park on a public street. Later that morning, a gun-sniffing dog discovered the weapons as private security guards searched the campus perimeter. The guns were in the back seat of the truck, which was separated from campus only by an oleander hedge and the sidewalk.

 

In overturning the teen's expulsion, county Board of Education members cited a state statute that requires a principal to recommend expulsion if a student possesses firearms "at school." The board found Tudesko had not possessed the shotguns "on school grounds."  They also said Tudesko did not receive a fair expulsion hearing in November because he wasn't given adequate notice that two dozen prior disciplinary incidents would be presented as evidence against him, and he didn't have a chance to respond.

 

According to a brief filed by the school district's lawyer, those charges included calling a teacher's assistant a "stupid Mexican," disrupting a showing of "To Kill a Mockingbird" by repeatedly saying the "N" word, which Tudesko denied, and writing on a final exam that his math teacher was a "b – – ."

 

After board President Judy Holzapfel read the unanimous

decision aloud Friday, supporters cheered and applauded.  Tudesko, his mother, Susan Parisio, and their lawyers smiled and hugged.

 

At a news conference afterward, Parisio said, "Gary didn't do anything wrong" when he left the guns in his truck. The prior incidents were "blown out of proportion," she said. Tudesko said he felt his prior disciplinary troubles had been raised to justify his expulsion. "I think that's really the only thing they had on me. They couldn't get me for the guns," he said.

 

"I won," he added.

 

The high school junior, who has been home schooled since he was expelled, said he is excited to return to school as soon as possible. He vowed to improve his failing grades in math, English and history and avoid further trouble.  "I need to grow up and take advantage of school," he said.

 

Willows school officials exited the county education offices demoralized.  Principal Mort Geivett said he believes he did the right thing by recommending expulsion. Having guns so close to campus in the wake of school shootings around the country raised grave safety concerns, he said.  "I'm disappointed," he said. "I don't think it's a good call for kids in this community."

 

Steve Olmos, superintendent of the Willows Unified School District, said he believes the board's decision was based on politics in the conservative, rural county.  He said he will meet with the board of the Willows school district to discuss legal options. The cash-strapped district cannot easily afford to take the case to court, he said, and might seek help from teachers unions. It is vital, he said, to determine whether school officials can enforce student conduct in the area immediately surrounding campuses.

 

Chuck Michel, a prominent gun-rights lawyer who handled Tudesko's case, agreed that the phrase "at school" in the Education Code needs to be better defined.  Sections of the code dealing with expulsion, firearms and other disciplinary matters are a confusing tangle of passages tacked on over the years, and the courts have offered little guidance, he said.

 

He urged lawmakers to draft legislation to clean up the Education Code and to make it clear where and under what circumstances it applies. "I hope this case provides the basis to go to Sacramento and get the law clarified," Michel said, "so you don't have any more Gary Tudeskos."

 


Lake Huron

Preview of Lake Huron recreational catch

From the 10 Main Basin trout/salmon index ports

Here are a few summary tables and figures illustrating trends in the recreational fishery for trout/salmon in the Main Basin of Lake Huron, based on the 10 so-called "index ports" that the DNRE tries to cover every year for the purpose of following trends in recreational harvest and catch rates. The 2009 fishing year was very similar to 2008. In fact, the Main Basin has fallen into a new pattern of low angler use, low catch rates, and low harvests of trout and salmon when compared with the pre-2005 period.

 

Walleye harvest has been higher since 2005, probably reflecting several years of successful walleye reproduction since the collapse of alewives. Harvest estimates are given in Table 1 for every port for which there was a creel survey conducted in 2009. I was surprised to see that 94% of the number of fish harvested, as shown at the bottom of Table 1, was composed of walleyes, ciscoes, and yellow perch. Had we conducted a complete survey of the St. Marys River, the percentage of these native species in the harvest would have been even higher.

 

Courtesy, Michigan DNRE Charlevoix Fishery Research Station

Fig 1 - Trends in harvest, by species, Main Basin index ports,

1992-2009. Harvest has leveled off and remained low relative to the pre-2005 period.

 

 

Fig 2 - Catch rates of salmonids and walleyes in the 10 Main Basin ports. Catch rates for walleyes have risen to nearly equal those of trout and salmon at these traditional “trout/salmon” ports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 3 - Trends in harvest of Chinook salmon at the 10 index ports.  Salmon growth has recovered somewhat, harvest has not. Over half  the harvest of Chinooks in Michigan waters occurs in the north  (from Alpena to Detour).

 

Table 1 - Preliminary summary of harvest at each port for which a creel survey was conducted on Lake Huron/St. Marys River in 2009. Charter reports have not yet been added to these harvest estimates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lake Superior

Deadly VHS virus found in Lake Superior fish

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP) -- A fatal fish virus has been detected in Lake Superior for the first time, meaning it has spread to all the Great  Lakes, researchers said January 27.

 

VHS has been identified in 28 freshwater fish species within the Great Lakes watershed since 2005, including popular sport and commercial varieties such as walleye, muskellunge and whitefish.  Although not dangerous for humans, the virus has caused large fish kills in Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron. It also has turned up in Lake Michigan.

 

Even so, officials in Michigan and Wisconsin said there was no evidence of a widespread outbreak in Lake Superior. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today said the recent finding by a Cornell University research team of traces of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHS) in fish inhabiting Lake Superior would not lead to any immediate regulation changes for anglers or boaters.

 

Cornell University reported in a press release today that they had found trace amounts of VHS virus in organ samples taken from a small number of healthy fish in four sites in Lake Superior. The news release is available on Cornell University's Web site.

 

“We appreciate the efforts of Cornell University to help better understand this disease, but we also want to caution anglers and others who enjoy Lake Superior that this does not mean there has been a widespread outbreak of VHS in those waters,” said Michigan DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries. “What this study does indicate is that VHS has been observed in four locations in Lake Superior, but it is not everywhere. Based on this limited finding, Michigan is not planning to make any changes in its regulations at this time.”

 

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Matt Frank said that Wisconsin’s strong VHS protections were already set with Lake Superior in mind. “We’re disappointed with Cornell’s finding, but not surprised. The good news is that our VHS rules for boaters and anglers stay the same and will continue to protect our inland waters. We included Lake Superior when we originally passed regulations in 2007 because it’s directly connected to waters that already had the virus present. We appreciate the efforts of Wisconsin boaters and anglers who comply.”

 

The Cornell University-led research team spent several days in June collecting and sampling healthy fish in Lake Superior. Nearly 900 fish were collected from the lake, and a new screening tool used by the team found a preliminary positive result for VHS in a small number of fish collected from four points in the Lake Superior basin – Paradise/Whitefish Point,

Chippewa County, Michigan; Skanee in Huron Bay in Baraga County, Michigan; Superior Bay near Duluth, Minnesota; and St. Louis Bay, also near Duluth. The only location that had a VHS sample confirmed as positive was at Paradise/Whitefish Point where VHS was confirmed in one sample from a yellow perch. Not all of the samples from this site, however, were confirmed to have VHS.

 

Humphries said the finding is not surprising, adding that finding a VHS-positive fish at the east end of the Lake Superior basin is where  biologists have long thought a positive would be found first -- near the St. Mary’s River, which connects the basin to Lake Huron, a  VHS-affected lake.

 

“VHS remains a threat to all the Great Lakes, and we will increase our efforts to slow the spread through public awareness of the simple things boaters and anglers can do to help,” Humphries said.

 

Frank said that the result underscores the importance of anglers and boaters taking required and appropriate steps to stop the further spread of VHS within Lake Superior itself, and to inland waters. “VHS has not gone away - whether you are boating or fishing in Wisconsin or  Michigan, you should drain all water from your bilge, live well or bait bucket, and never take live fish away from any water,” said Frank.

 

Humphries and Frank said their agencies will continue collecting and testing fish for VHS in Lake Superior. Both states have been collecting samples of fish from Lake Superior for the last 3 years, and neither state has yet found any fish positive for VHS using rigorous, confirmatory testing procedures.

 

Anglers and boaters who recreate on Lake Superior can help both the Michigan DNRE and Wisconsin DNR by reporting any significant fish  kills they encounter on Lake Superior to the agencies. Also, anglers and boaters should drain their livewells and bilge as they exit a lake.  Boats should regularly be cleaned and disinfected after use, as well as any boating and fishing equipment.

 

Both states prohibit release of unused minnows back into the water. Unused bait should be disposed of on land or in a trash can. Also, both states prohibit the transfer of live fish from one lake to another without appropriate permits. Wisconsin has additional rules relating to the movement of live fish and the use and possession of live minnows.

 

For more information on VHS, please visit www.michigan.gov/vhs  or www.dnr.wi.gov/fish/vhs 

 


Virulent Fish Virus Identified for First Time in Lake Superior

VHS virus poses threats to fisheries and aquaculture

For the first time, the presence of an exceptionally virulent fish virus (viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus or VHSV) has been identified in fish from Lake Superior by researchers at the Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and confirmed by scientists at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle.

 

The disease (VHS) caused by the virus can result in significant losses in populations of wild fish as well as in stocks of fish reared by aquaculture. It is of sufficient global concern to be one of only nine fish diseases that must be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health.

 

The virus was first identified in the Great Lakes in 2005 when it was recovered from fish experiencing massive die-offs. Over the last 5 years, one die-off in Lake Ontario resulted in the death of 40,000 freshwater drum in 4 days. The virus had been found in fish from all of the Great Lakes except Superior, as well as in the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers, and inland lakes in New York, Michigan and Wisconsin. The disease causes internal bleeding in fish, and although in the family of viruses that includes rabies, is not harmful to humans.

 

Cornell investigators tested 874 fish collected last summer from seven sites in Lake Superior.  Using a new genetic test developed at Cornell,  fish from four of seven sites tested positive for the virus: Paradise, Mich., Skanee, Mich., St. Louis, Bay, Wis., and Superior Bay, Wis. The  VHSV-positive species 

included yellow perch, white sucker, rock bass and bluegill. To confirm these findings, tissues from fish at one of the  sites (Paradise) were sent to the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center where VHSV experts Drs. Gael Kurath and James Winton provided  independent confirmation of the Cornell findings.  

 

“VHS is one of the most important diseases of finfish,” said Winton. “It not only affects the health and well-being of populations of several  important native fish species, but it can also impact trade, and, should it spread into the U.S. aquaculture industry, could do substantial  damage as happened in Europe and parts of Japan.”

 

Previous genetic research at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center and by colleagues from Canada showed that this strain of the virus  was probably introduced into the Great Lakes in the last 5 to 10 years, and that the fish die-offs occurring among different species and in  different lakes should be considered as one large ongoing epidemic. Experts fear the disease could potentially spread from the Great Lakes into new populations of native fish in the 31 states of the Mississippi River basin.

 

Federal and State agencies had previously placed restrictions on movement of fish or fish products to slow the spread of the virus; however,  the presence of a reportable pathogen in the Great Lakes States, large mortalities among wild species, potential impacts on commercial  aquaculture and disruption of interstate and international trade have caused substantial concern among management agencies.


Indiana

Experimental Goose Season Will Continue

The final year of a three-year experimental hunting season aimed at controlling breeding populations of resident Canada geese around urban  areas of Indiana has been authorized for selected counties.

 

Season dates are Feb. 1-15 in select counties. To participate, hunters must have a valid hunting license, Indiana waterfowl stamp, signed federal duck stamp, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, and a free permit from the DNR. The free permit is available at www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/, by phone (317-232-4200), or at any state fish and wildlife area, field office, or reservoir during regular business hours in January.

 

Ordering online allows the customer to print a permit at the time of order and saves postage costs. Hunters can minimize time online by not waiting until the last minute to apply.  DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps said overall response from hunters remains positive, and that adding an online permit application last  year helped, as did adding several check stations.

 

Phelps said nearly 3,000 of the 4,000 hunters who registered for the 2009 special season participated and reported taking an estimated 6,300 Canada geese. The two-year total for the February season is more than 11,000 geese.

 

Hunters must report all harvested geese to a check station. Geese must have the head, a fully feathered wing, and reproductive parts still attached when the bird is checked. Check station staff will age and identify the sex of each bird, and will remove and keep the head of all adult birds checked.

 

Data collected from these heads are used to help determine if

the late season will continue in future years. U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service guidelines require that at least 80 percent of the geese harvested during the three-year experimental period must be the giant subspecies of Canada goose - the goose that commonly breeds in Indiana and surrounding states.

 

"If we remain over 80 percent giants across all three years, we will ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant operational status to the season," Phelps said. "This means that birds would no longer need to be checked and no permit would be needed to hunt."

 

Even if Indiana meets federal guidelines that qualify for extension, the season may be closed in future years if local Canada goose populations are reduced too much.  The bag limit for the experimental season is five Canada geese per day, with a possession limit of 10. Shooting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.

 

The temporary rule that establishes the late Canada goose season also authorizes a special late season for two light goose species - Ross'  and snow. During the last 30 years, populations of both species have nearly quadrupled, resulting in severe degradation of their breeding grounds. Hunters do not need a Federal duck stamp or HIP number to take snow or Ross' geese in this special season.

 

Federal regulations prohibit the Late Canada Goose and Light Goose special seasons being open at the same time.  As a result, the Light Goose season will be Feb. 16 to March 31 in the 30 counties designated for the Late Canada Goose season, and Feb. 1 to March 31 in all other counties.

 


Minnesota

DNR, Red Lake Nation sign new agreement

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Red Lake Nation and Bureau of Indian Affairs have signed a new five-year agreement that  outlines how the parties will work together to maintain the health of the Upper and Lower Red lakes fishery.  The new memorandum of  understanding closely parallels a 1999-2009 agreement that helped restore high-quality walleye fishing to Minnesota's largest inland body of  water. The agreement, among other things, states each entity will support the Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee, a joint panel of experts  that recommends policies and practices to maintain a healthy fishery.

 

"We've come a long way in the past decade," said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten, noting that anglers have caught more than 1.1 million  pounds of walleye since the lake was reopened to fishing in 2006. "By renewing this agreement, we are reaffirming our commitment to a  process that has delivered results."

"Red Lake Band members are pleased that our walleye have come back and our fishing community is revitalized," said Floyd Jourdain Jr.,  chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. "We are committed to ensuring that Red Lake walleye are managed sustainably in the  future. Renewing this agreement will enable the Fisheries Technical Committee to continue its work to help protect this valuable resource."

 

The agreement was signed today during a brief ceremony in Red Lake. Historically, Upper and Lower Red lakes were outstanding walleye  fisheries, but they collapsed in the mid-1990s due to over harvest.

 

The Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee was formed in 1998. Since then, the regulations, policies and other actions this joint body has  recommended have led to a healthy walleye population and a resurgent walleye fishing economy.


New York

60th Anniversary of Hunter Education the Safest Year in NY History

Hunter Education began in New York State in 1949. Today, New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters.

 

Thanks largely to 60 years of hunter education and the dedicated efforts of over 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education instructors.

Reports of hunting related shooting incidents received to date by DEC indicate that 2009 was the safest year in the history of hunting in New York. There were 26 hunting related shooting incidents, including one fatality. This year's total of 26 compares to an average of 66 incidents per year from the 1990s, and 137 incidents per year during the 1960s.

 

A single hunting fatality has occurred only three other times in NY history and is well below the five year average of 3.2. This single fatality was self inflicted when a deer hunter climbed a tree with a loaded shotgun.

 

Big game hunting incidents continue to be very low compared to previous decades, despite the increase in rifle zones and the passage of the youth mentoring law in 2008 which now allows 14 &15 year olds to hunt big game.

 

This year's total of 26 brings the average for the 2000s down to 38 incidents per year making the past decade the safest ever, continuing a 50-year trend of increasing safety.

 

The number of hunters is declining, but the hunting incident RATE (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling MUCH faster

than the number of hunters. During the 1960s, the incident rate was 19 incidents per 100,000 hunters. Since 2000, the incident rate is one-third of that, averaging 6.4 per 100,000.

 

Hunting is safer than ever, but we cannot become complacent, as virtually every hunting related shooting incident is preventable.


 

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Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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