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NIAGARA ON THE LAKE, ON Fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario have agreed to reduce the harvest level of Lake Erie walleye for the second year in a row. The Lake Erie Committee, acting on a report from its Walleye Task Group that pointed out the lake wide abundance of walleye is predicted to be lower in 2000, agreed to set the total allowable catch (TAC) at 7.7 million fish, down 12 % from the 1999 TAC of 9 million fish. The committee also recommended the yellow perch TAC remain at a level similar to the 1999 TAC of 6.5 million pounds. Fishery managers are concerned that the harvest of perch needs to be reduced in both the western and eastern basins, but also recognized that perch stocks are particularly strong in the central basin of the take.

In response to their continuing concern for both walleye and yellow perch, the committee decided to pursue coordinated, long term strategies to protect and rebuild these stocks. As an initial step, this year the LEC will reinstitute the interagency lake wide walleye tagging study designed to examine walleye population dynamics and stock structure. Over the next year the committee will develop more comprehensive strategies designed to sustain walleye and yellow perch populations at desirable levels. The LEC will announce further details at their 2001 annual meeting.

The abundance of two years old and older walleye is estimated to be 50 million fish in 2000, down 14 % from the 57 million fish estimated to be in the lake in 1999. The fishery will rely heavily on the strong 1996 year class for the third straight year due to weak 1997 and 1998 year classes.

The 1999 harvest of walleye was estimated at 4.8 million fish, a 29 % decline from the 6.8 million fish harvested in 1998. The commercial harvest of walleye dropped 16 % to 3.5 million fish, while the sport harvest suffered a substantial drop of 49 % to 13 million, the lowest level since 1976 when walleye fishing was reinstated in Lake Erie.

The yellow perch TAC was set at 6.57 million lbs., similar to the 1999 TAC of 6.5 million lbs. but down from the 1998 TAC of 7.44 million lbs. The sustained recovery of yellow perch stocks in all areas of the lake depends on the contribution of the moderate to strong 1996 and 1998 year classes. The 1997 year class entering the fishery this year is weak.

The 1999 harvest of yellow perch was estimated to be 5.7 million lbs., a 3% decline from the 1998 harvest. The commercial harvest was 4 million lbs. and the sport harvest was 1.6 million lbs.

Reprinted with permission from the Great Lakes Sportfishing Council, publishers of the Great Lakes Basin Report.

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Max
Waterford MI
Max's Shopping Center

[This message has been edited by mchuber (edited 06-01-2000).]
 

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I for one would be very hesitint about accepting any reduction in the recreational catch without a reduction or complete halt in Canadas continuing commercial harvest. Why should the little guys have to take the heat for their obvious overfishing?
 

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As a Captain on Lake Erie I for one can't say enough about the damage that the Canadian nets are doing great damsge to the Walleye and Perch numbers in the lake.
But as always the sport fishing will be the ones to take the hit before the netters! Call and write your congressman and let them know that we want this type of thing stopped at once. Remind them of the damage the waters if Lake Michigan sufferd before on the Salmon and the lost buisiness when they killed the sportfishing industry on that lake.
Tight Lines Capt. Wayne Dream Catcher Charters. WWW.lakeeriewalleyecharters.com

[This message has been edited by Captain Wayne (edited 06-19-2000).]
 
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