Week of June 4, 2007

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Words to Ponder
National

Regional

Lake Erie

2nd Amendment Issues
Indiana
Michigan
Ohio

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Lake Okeechobee Hits record 8.94' Low

1-in-100-year drought drops S.E.’s largest lake to historic levels

West Palm Beach, FL – Water levels in Lake Okeechobee last week reached an all-time record low of 8.94', surpassing the mark of 8.97' set during the 2001 drought and tied on May 30.  Water managers have been watching the water level slowly drop as months of low rainfall in the region took their toll on the 730-square-mile lake, a primary backup water supply to 5 million South Floridians.

 

Rainfall directly over the lake has been low enough to qualify this drought as a 1-in-100-year event. Just north of the lake, along the tributary Kissimmee River and Upper Chain of Lakes, low rainfall has produced a 1-in-50-year drought. Only 40" of rain have fallen on the region in the past 18 months, about one-half the average. More than 200 days have past

since water flowed in the Kissimmee River and into Lake

Okeechobee.

 

Historically, extreme water levels in Lake Okeechobee have fluctuated by almost 10 feet, according to recordkeeping that began in 1931. The all-time high-water mark was recorded on November 2, 1947 at 18.77'. The record-breaking low is almost a 10-ft difference. Extremely low levels were recorded during droughts in 1956, 1971 and 1981; high levels were recorded in 1982, 1995 and 1997.

 

Water levels in the lake are measured in NGVD units, or National Geodetic Vertical Datum units. NGVD is a nationally established coordinate system used to determine elevation, especially in areas close to sea level. At a typical water level of about 15 feet NGVD, Lake Okeechobee averages only about 9 ft deep, with the deepest locations no more than 15 feet deep.


Los Angeles officials restrict recreational boat traffic 

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the restriction of recreational boats in certain areas of the Port of Los Angeles without a port police-issued permit. The measure is aimed at ensuring navigational safety of large commercial vessels by reducing nonessential boating traffic, while increasing waterside security by limiting access to commercial or permitted vessels.

 

“First and foremost, we are committed to making the Port of Los Angeles the safest port in the nation,” port deputy executive director of operations Capt. John Holmes, said in a statement.  “To do this, we are taking steps to make sure that only vessels having business in commercial areas of our port are allowed access unless they request prior clearance. “The Main Channel and other primary waterways of course will remain open to recreational boaters, but those areas best kept for commercial-only vessels will be restricted,” he added.

Today, recreational vessels are free to operate in all waterways of the port, even those with no recreational craft facilities. Each Controlled Navigation Area (CNA) will be identified with posted signs and enforced by the Los Angeles Port Police.  Recreational vessel owners/operators may request to enter a CNA at any time by contacting port police by phone. The CNAs will be phased in over a six-month period during which time significant public outreach will occur to educate recreational boaters on the areas.

 

Enforcement will begin at the end of the year.

 

The CNAs are part of the port’s larger Responsible Marina Program, which will enhance safety and security and improve the environment for the 4,500 recreational boaters and 16 marinas in the Port of Los Angeles.

 


Words to Ponder

Quote of the Moment

To lead a symphony you must occasionally turn your back on

the crowd

Anonymous


National

Cornell lab confirms deadly fish virus spreading to new species

Claims VHS approaching epidemic proportions

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A lethal fish virus in the Great Lakes and neighboring waterways is approaching epidemic proportions, according to Paul Bowser, Cornell professor of aquatic animal medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), which causes anemia and hemorrhaging in fish, has now been identified in 19 species and poses a potential threat to New York's $1.2 billion sport-fishing industry.

 

"It's pretty obvious this is an epidemic even if it isn't official," said Bowser. "There are just so many species affected and so many mortalities."

 

Three new fish kills have occurred in 2007 in New York waters since the virus was identified in the Great Lakes Basin in 2005. In the St. Lawrence River, hundreds of thousands of round gobies have succumbed to the disease; gizzard shad die-offs from VHSV in Lake Ontario west of Rochester and in Dunkirk Harbor on Lake Erie also have been reported. This month the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources made a presumptive identification of the virus for the first time in the Lake Winnebago chain of inland lakes about 25 miles south of Green Bay on Lake Michigan; confirmation is pending. And millions of dead freshwater drum formed windrows of carcasses along the beaches of Lake Erie in 2006, all victims of VHSV.

 

Other species from the Great Lakes Basin area that have tested positive by Cornell include bluegill, rock bass, black crappie, pumpkinseed, smallmouth and largemouth bass, muskellunge (New York's No. 2 sport fish), northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, channel catfish, brown bullhead, white perch, white bass, emerald shiner, bluntnose minnow, freshwater drum, round goby, gizzard shad and burbot. Roughly 1,600 fish have been tested at Cornell since May 2006.

 

Bowser suspects the virus may have originated from an infected marine fish off the Atlantic Coast and that the virus is still relatively new to the region. Other possible sources of the virus include the movement of infected fish by airborne or terrestrial predators, anglers using infected bait minnows, contaminated fishing equipment or live water wells in boats, boating activities and ballast water.

 

"Basically, we don't know how it got here, but it is here and it's 

spreading," said Bowser. "It would be wonderful if we did know. However, I don't think we ever will."

 

The Great Lakes VHSV is not related to the European or Japanese genotypes and poses no health threat to humans, said Bowser. However, as a general rule, people should avoid eating any fish (or game) that appears abnormal or behaves abnormally. Not all infected fish, however, exhibit symptoms. Some may be carriers, and visible signs of the disease may vary from species to species.

 

Containing the spread of the virus in New York will require restrictions on the movement of live fish, testing fish and surveillance. For instance, New York state regulations require that bait fish be used in the same body of water from which they were collected unless they have been tested. In Wisconsin, new emergency rules prohibit anglers and boaters from moving live fish and require them to drain their boats and live wells before leaving Wisconsin's Great Lakes waters, the Mississippi River and those tributaries up to the first impassable dams, according to the Associated Press.

 

The spread of the virus could have a devastating impact on aquaculture and particularly the channel catfish trade, which constitutes about 80 % of aquaculture business in the United States, said Bowser. Catfish is a very popular food fish in the Deep South. "We have detected VHSV in channel catfish in our surveillance efforts,' said Bowser. "The ability of the virus to go beyond a carrier state and cause disease in this important aquaculture species is a major research question we plan to investigate this year."

 

Cornell researchers have been assisting the New York state VHSV surveillance in collaboration with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell's Biological Field Station, Oneida Lake and the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry-Syracuse Thousand Island Biological Station on the St. Lawrence River. Researchers also are working with support from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

 

Earlier this year Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine received a two-year, $181,000 grant from the New York Sea Grant Program to advance a rapid technique, developed by Cornell virologist James Casey, for detecting the deadly virus. Current tests take a month, while the Cornell test yields results within 24 hours. Researchers hope to have the new technique validated by the end of 2007 and all fieldwork completed by the end of 2008.


Bill would exempt recreational boats from Clean Water Act permits 

A bill introduced in Congress last week by Representatives Gene Taylor (D-Miss) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.) would exempt recreational boats from complex Clean Water Act permitting requirements. The legislation would prevent commercial shipping regulations from expanding and burdening family boaters. Unless Congress passes this legislation, boaters could spend future Memorial Day weekends waiting in long lines to pay for expensive new permits.

 

Clean-water permits are designed for large point source polluters such as cruise ships, cargo ships and tankers. But a federal court has ruled USEPA has also illegally exempted recreational boats since the act was passed in 1973.

 

A September 2006 U.S. District Court ruling nullified the EPA’s long-standing exemption of pollutants such as engine cooling water, bilge water, gray water, and even common deck runoff that occurs during the normal operation of recreational boats. The court ruling was guided by the larger issue of halting commercial shipping from introducing foreign aquatic invasive species into U.S. waters by ballast water discharges from supertankers and cargo ships. That is how some 10,000 invasive species travel the oceans.

 

Because of the ruling, the EPA is faced with developing a

permitting system for up to 18 million recreational boats in the United States by September 2008.

 

H.R. 2550, “The Recreational Boating Act of 2007,” would permanently enshrine into law the longstanding exemption for incidental recreational boat discharges under the Clean Water Act. It would grant EPA authority to reinstate its 34-year exemption for recreational boats, which a U.S. District Court nullified in Sept. 2006.  Boats will continue to be heavily regulated for sewage, oil, garbage and other pollutants under existing statutes.

 

“The EPA recognized that everyday family boats were not the intended focus of the permitting rules adopted at that time to protect the environment from large pollution sources,” said Monita Fontaine, vice president and senior counsel of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “While minimizing the exchange of ballast water from one international port to another is very important in reducing the risk of aquatic invasive species, it is equally important not to sweep small recreational boats into the same regulatory scheme.”

 

“If left unfixed, boaters will face onerous permitting regulations that increase the cost and lessen the enjoyment of boating for a regulation really intended to regulate and control a ballast water tank that their boats don’t even have,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.


GOP senator thwarts Rachel Carson tribute

Coburn says: 'Silent Spring' author's 'hysteria,' 'misinformation' led to deaths of millions

A Democrat senator's resolution to honor the centennial of famed environmentalist and "Silent Spring" author Rachel Carson unexpectedly was blocked by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, who blamed Carson for creating a climate of "hysteria and misinformation" that led to the banning of DDT and the deaths of millions.

 

Carson, widely regarded as the inspiration for the modern environmentalist movement, warned in her 1962 book the pesticide DDT killed animals and threatened human health. Her book led to a U.S. ban on the chemical in 1972 and subsequent bans worldwide.

 

A spokesman for Coburn said Carson's work "both directly and indirectly created a climate of hysteria and misinformation about the impact of DDT on the human populations." "The result of that is that millions of people in the developing world died because the environmental movement, inspired by Rachel Carson, created a climate of fear and hysteria about DDT," Coburn spokesman John Hart told Reuters.

 

The sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, was surprised by the opposition, calling it inappropriate and arbitrary. "Rachel Carson has been an inspiration to a generation of environmentalists, scientists and biologists who made a difference and changed the irresponsible use of pesticides," Cardin said. "Honoring her 100th birthday should not be controversial. I wanted to share that with our country."

 

Cardin charged Coburn is "basically citing the line of the interest groups ... because they had an economic interest in DDT."   DDT originally was used during World War II in Europe to delouse troops and in South Pacific islands to kill insects

causing malaria. Critics of Carson cite the 500 million saved lives the National Academy of Sciences attributed to DDT before it was banned and note the World Health Organization's affirmation that no substance had ever proved more beneficial to man.

 

In his book "Hoodwinked," WND columnist and author Jack Cashill describes how esteemed entomologist J. Gordon Edwards eagerly raced through the first several chapters of Carson's "Silent Spring" when it was first published, but as he did, his anticipation eroded into uneasiness.  "I noticed many statements that I realized were false." Attracted by Carson's message, Edwards tried to overlook the misstatements or to rationalize them away, but increasingly he could not. "As I neared the middle of the book," he adds, "the feeling grew in my mind that Rachel Carson was really playing loose with the facts."

 

Cashill notes how Carson disdained any assertion of man's mastery over nature, writing, "The 'control of nature' is a phrase conceived in arrogance born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man."

 

When Carson alluded to increased bird deaths during the DDT era, Edwards responded, "Is it possible that Carson was unaware of the great increases in mammals and game birds." Her claim robins were on the verge of extinction because of DDT and related chemicals proved transparently untrue, Cashill said. "At the end of the day, beyond all reasonable doubt, Edwards revealed Carson's claim that DDT is 'deadly' to be "completely false," said Cashill, who points out Edwards took to swallowing a tablespoon of DDT on stage before every lecture on the subject.

 

www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55878


100th Anniversary of Camp Perry

Fairfax, Va. – Up to 6,000 shooters are expected to take part in an historic milestone this July—the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Camp Perry, Ohio, as the site for the National Matches.

 

The term National Matches describes the National Rifle and Pistol Championships conducted by NRA and the National Trophy Matches conducted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Participants will range in experience from first-time competitive shooters to Olympic champions, and will include civilians, military personnel, and law enforcement officers.  The NRA National Championships are open to all persons who are members of the NRA. 

 

The event is also an economic boon to the local area, contributing more than $10 million annually, according to Tom Brown, mayor of nearby Port Clinton.

Special centennial ceremonies, activities, and displays will be evident at this year's competitions.  The NRA's National Firearms Museum, based at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, will display a large collection of Camp Perry memorabilia from its collection, including, rifles, pistols, clothing, medals, and accessories.  Large banners will also be displayed around the camp to identify significant historical milestones.

 

The National Matches begin each year in early July with the NRA National Junior Pistol Camp, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Small Arms Firing Schools, and the NRA National Pistol Championships, and conclude in August with the NRA National High Power Rifle Championship and the NRA Long Range Championship.

 

 


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for June 1, 2007

Lake Level Conditions: 

Currently, Lake Superior is 16 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 3 inches lower than it was at this time last year.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 1 to 6 inches above their levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is expected to rise 3 inches and Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to rise 1 inch, over the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to drop an inch while Lakes Erie and Ontario are projected to drop 2 inches over the next month. During the next few months, Lake Superior is predicted to remain well below its water level of a year ago, while water levels of the remaining lakes are expected to be similar or slightly below last year’s levels.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for June. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flow in the Niagara River is expected to be above average, while flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be below average.

 

Alerts:

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin

over the last several months, | Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for June 1

600.0

577.7

574.2

572.9

246.2

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-13

+ 2

+22

+33

+34

Diff last month

+1

+1

-2

-3

-2

Diff from last yr

-16

-3

+1

+2

+6


 

2nd Amendment issues

Microsoft Funds the Anti-Hunting Movement

Microsoft has rejected a U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance request to abandon its partnership with the nation’s leading anti-hunting organization. Microsoft, the software giant, will make a $100,000 donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and is partnering with the group on a pilot program called the I’m Initiative.

 

Through the new program, whenever a Windows Live Messenger user has a conversation using i’m, Microsoft will give a portion of the program’s advertising revenue to one of ten organizations selected by the user. The HSUS is one of the choices, and there is no limit to the amount of money that can be donated.

 

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the nation’s leading sportsmen’s advocacy organization, has urged Microsoft to end its support of HSUS, but the company refused. According to Microsoft representative Tara Kriese, Microsoft believes the i’m Initiative is “a great way to enable people to help causes that are important to them.”

 

“Microsoft is going to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably more, into an organization that recently issued a manifesto that targets hunting for extinction,” said USSA President Bud Pidgeon. “If there was ever a time for sportsmen to take grassroots action, this is it.”  Sportsmen should contact Microsoft and demand that its financial support of HSUS be terminated. Contact Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft, 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052. Phone: (425) 882-8080. Fax: (425) 936-7329.

 

The Humane Society of the United States opposes all animal

use, including trapping, hunting and fishing. It was a key player in the campaigns to outlaw dove hunting in Michigan, trapping in California, and black bear hunting in Colorado. The organization has created a hit list of hunting traditions that it hopes to dismantle, including bear hunting and hunting with hounds.

 

“The HSUS already has a multi-million dollar budget that it invests in legislative and ballot campaigns to ban trapping and hunting,” said Pidgeon. “The partnership that it has formed with Microsoft, the maker of the Xbox, will allow the organization to make money hand over fist, and continue to fund efforts to ban outdoor sports.”

 

Sportsmen can make a difference in an issue like this. Companies such as Iams, General Mills, Accor Hotels, Pet Safe, Sears, and Ace

Hardware ended relationships with HSUS after thousands of sportsmen levied strong protest. In 2002, Jeep raised the ire of sportsmen when it aired a blatantly, anti-hunting commercial called the “Deer Hunter.” After a flood of sportsmen’s contacts, Jeep pulled the commercial in three days.

 

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organization that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs.

 

For more information about USSA and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.


 

Lake Erie

Mayflies Reveal Differences in Lake Erie

Ann Arbor, MI — Mud-dwelling mayflies on the bottom of Lake Erie are revealing differences in water and sediment quality in different parts of the lake, according to researchers. The insects, known to biologists as Hexagenia, require oxygen dissolved in the water year-around in order to survive and multiply.

 

The mayflies - native to Lake Erie - have been plentiful in mud of the western basin from Sandusky, Ohio, and Leamington, Ontario, west to Toledo since the 1990s as a result of improving lake quality. Their return to the western end of the lake led biologists from Heidelberg College in Ohio, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the universities of Windsor and Waterloo in Ontario to predict that the mayflies would also become more widespread and abundant further to the east in areas of the lake near Cleveland; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Buffalo, New York. To find out, they looked for mayfly larvae in bottom mud from much of Lake Erie from 1997 through 2005.

 

In studies funded by the USEPA, Environment Canada, the Sea Grant Program, and the Ohio Lake Erie Protection Fund, the researchers found that the larvae have not successfully colonized mud of the central and eastern basins. "We predicted that the mayflies would spread eastward from the western end of the lake and begin to occupy suitable mud in

the other parts of the lake," said Dr. Ken Krieger of Heidelberg

College, one of the lead researchers on the project. "Instead, after increasing in numbers in some areas off the Ohio shore through 2000, they virtually disappeared in 2001 and have not returned," he said.

 

The scientists are not sure why the mayflies, also known to locals by such names as junebugs, Canadian soldiers (on the American side!), and shadflies, are restricted to the western end of the lake. Long-time residents along the lake shore recall large summer swarms of the adult insects during the first half of the last century from Toledo to Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York.

 

The scientists point to evidence that cold temperatures in the central and eastern basins (over 75% of the lake) may naturally prevent the mud-dwelling larvae from successfully completing their life cycle. The loss of oxygen in summer from a large area of the lake bottom north of Lorain and Cleveland, Ohio - known as the "dead zone" because animals can't survive there in the absence of oxygen - also appears to play a role in keeping the mayflies away.

 

For more info contact International Association for Great Lakes Research, 2007.


Indiana

Atterbury FWA hosts Kids Fishing Derby, June 9

Hoosiers do not need a fishing license, June 9 and 10

Catch a smile June 9 at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area's 14th annual Kids Fishing Derby. The festivities at Stone Arch Lake will include a free morning fishing derby, fly tying and casting demonstrations, and more. Programs run from 7 - 11 AM. Fishing tackle prizes will be awarded in a fishing contest for kids between 2 and 16 years old.

 

Children who have rods and tackle should bring their own equipment. A limited amount of loaner equipment will be available. Bait and snacks will be provided. Fishing will be from the bank. An adult should accompany all children.

 

The Kids Fishing Derby celebrates Indiana's Free Fishing Weekend. Hoosier adults do not need a license to fish Indiana public waters, June 9 and 10. (Children under the age of 17 do not need a license at any time.) Although no license is needed, all other fishing regulations are still in effect. For

more information, call the Atterbury property office, (812) 526-2051.

 

Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area is west of Edinburgh. Stone Arch Lake is on the west side of Atterbury FWA along Stone Arch Road. To reach the site from US Highway 31, turn west on Hospital Road and north on Stone Arch Road. From Nineveh, travel east on Hospital Road and north on Stone Arch Road. Property maps are available at the office on Hospital Road.

 

Atterbury FWA map and information:

www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/att.htm

 

Free Fishing Weekend festivities at a park near you:

www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/freefish/freefish.html

 

Fun tips on getting kids interested in fishing:

www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/fishing/bobber.htm


Michigan

Houghton Lake East Boating Access Site Becomes a Fee Site

Michigan officials have announced that the Houghton Lake East Boating Access Site, located in Roscommon County’s Markey Township, has become a fee site. A boating access permit will be required to enter and access this site.

 

Boating access permits may be purchased at South Higgins

Lake State Park, which is located at 106 State Park Dr. in

Roscommon; or on-site when an attendant is on duty. A self-serve fee pipe will be available in the future. An annual boating access permit is $24 and a daily boating access permit is $6. For more information, contact Eric Cowing, South Higgins Lake State Park supervisor, at 989-821-6374.

 


DNR Hosts Fishing Tackle Swap Meet on June 10 near Curtis

DNR, state park and recreation officials announced that the Newberry Parks and Recreation Field Office will host a Fishing Tackle Swap Meet on Sunday, June 10, at the Wolfe Bay Boat Access Site, located on the northwest side of South Manistique Lake near Curtis. The swap meet hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

All are invited to come and swap or just look during this Free Fishing Weekend and “GO-Get Outdoors” event, which is planned to encourage families and youngsters of all ages to get outdoors and enjoy Michigan’s great natural resources. Bring any fishing-related tackle new, used, or antique to sell, trade, swap or just display your collection. If you plan on

setting up a display contact Jim Hooker at 906-293-5131 Ext. 4021 and plan on bringing your own canopy or tables. Boating-related items and boat motors qualify as fishing tackle. There is no registration fee.

 

There will be a fishing decoy carving demonstration and various antique tackle displays for viewing.

 

DNR personnel will be available to respond to fishing and/or boat access site related programs and refreshments will be available.  A kid’s fishing pier is located at the Wolfe Bay site, which the Portage Anglers Club and local citizens were instrumental in developing. 

Follow the “Fishing Tackle Swap Meet” signs once in Curtis, which is located between the Manistique Lakes.


Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend, June 9-10

State recreation officials announced Michigan’s annual summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 9-10. For these two days, residents and nonresidents can fish without purchasing a fishing license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

 

Michigan has offered Free Fishing Weekends since 1986 as a way to promote the state’s diverse natural resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,037 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, Michigan’s freshwater angling opportunities are among the best in the nati

To help new anglers get started, the DNR and a host of federal, state and local partners are conducting clinics, casting contests, fishing derbies and other fun Free Fishing Weekend events throughout the state. Most are designed for families and children. For a list of events in your area, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr  and click on “Fishing,” then click on the link for “Free Fishing Weekend.”

 

Many Free Fishing Weekend events are taking place in Michigan State Parks, in conjunction with the DNR’s annual GO-Get Outdoors campaign which celebrates Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities and the role they play in improving the quality of life for residents and visitors.


Ohio

OH Officials reduce perch limits from 40 to 30   

Weak '02, '04 and '06 hatches lead to reduction

COLUMBUS, OH – During a special meeting on May 30, the Ohio Wildlife Council approved a change to reduce the sport fishing daily bag limit for Lake Erie yellow perch from 40 to 30. The meeting was added to the schedule in order to put into place rules that take effect after the governor’s executive order expires in early July.

 

In early April, Governor Ted Strickland issued an executive order reducing the Lake Erie yellow perch limit from 40 to 30 in response to declining fish populations. The order went into effect Monday, April 9, immediately reducing the yellow perch bag limit on Lake Erie.

The Lake Erie yellow perch bag limit for sport anglers was only recently increased to 40 in 2006 and prior to that has been 30 over the past ten years.

 

Lake Erie commercial netters also saw a reduction in their quota compared to 2006. Commercial allocations for Lake Erie yellow perch in Ohio dropped from 3 million pounds in 2006 to 2.1 million pounds in 2007. The recreational allocation falls from 4.5 million pounds in 2006 to 2.8 million pounds in 2007.

 

These actions come on the heels of the March 23 announcement from the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, which significantly reduced the

2007 lake-wide total allowable catch (TAC) from 2006.  The TAC represents the amount of fish that can be caught by recreational and commercial fishermen without putting the fish stocks at risk. Ohio's 2007 share or "quota" for yellow perch is 4.92 million lbs of the lake-wide TAC of 11.39 million pounds. Both figures represent a 34 percent reduction from last year's quota.  Each year, the TAC is adjusted by the committee in response to fluctuations in the lake’s fish population.

 

The quota for yellow perch in Ohio’s waters of Lake Erie is split between commercial netters and sport anglers, with 40 % of the quota being allocated to commercial and 60 % to sport each year.  Under existing laws and procedures, officials can reduce the allocation of perch to netters by May 1, the first day of the commercial fishing season for yellow perch in Ohio waters.  In contrast, sport fishing regulation changes generally are made during the fall prior to a new fishing year. The news of the TAC limits indicated the need for an in-season adjustment of the sport quotas.

 

At the April 4 meeting, the Ohio officials voted unanimously in favor of reducing quotas and bag limits for both anglers and commercial netters. The council also expressed their strong support for the governor’s decision to issue an Executive Order to help ensure that Ohio does not exceed its quota set by the Lake Erie Committee.


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