Thursday, August 13, 2015

Walleye crash in key MN lake; climate change cited

With a reporter and photographer at Garrison, Minnesota's Mille Lacs,

Large walleye statue at Mille Lacs in Garrison, Minnesota

The New York Times is reporting on a crash in the iconic lake's walleye population and the early termination of the walleye fishing season that defines local culture and sustains its economy.

Maybe this will unblock some of the inertia on climate change, especially the meme that there's nothing to see, or do about it around here.

As the Times reports:
"There is little agreement on the reasons for the apparent drop-off in the walleye population, but experts at the state’s natural resources agency say that larger prey — especially large walleye — appear to be eating younger walleye in alarming numbers. This could be because of a shortage of other fish like perch or tullibee, species that large walleye typically like to eat, but that have struggled to survive as lakes in Minnesota have gradually warmed as a result of climate change, some fish biologists say."
Also very interesting: this Minnesota public radio report about officials' mismanagement of the situation. Wisconsin readers might take to heart the value of the records cited, as well as the Open Records law that helped tell the story.

1 comment:

La Mer said...

From the MPR report: "Stocking the lake may not have any impact."

"...stocking more fish would be 'analogous to adding more water to an already full bucket and could actually harm survival of your fish by increasing competition.'"


"DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said...the state doesn't want to get caught in a situation where the walleye population drops dramatically and the DNR can't do anything to save the population. He said that's why they're preparing to start a stocking program."

Somewhat ineffective and exactly what Walker did here in 2014:

Last year governor Walker's budget included funds to help the struggling walleye:

"DNR fisheries increased production of walleye fingerlings from 40,000 to 400,000 last year, and are expected to produce nearly 700,000 per year by 2016; (plus) $8.2 million [was allocated] to the Department of Natural Resources for infrastructure improvements and $1.3 million each year for operating costs to expand production at state fish hatcheries;

$2 million for municipal, tribal, and private aquaculture facilities to improve infrastructure and enhance ability to stock additional large fingerling walleye in Wisconsin’s waters;

$500,000 in fiscal year 2014-15 to purchase large fingerling walleye from private fish farms and

$250,000 to expand the Summer Tribal Youth Program."


Anishiinabe biologists suggested a no keep season in Wisconsin and the release of substantially larger hatchery fish. We white folks could learn from indigenous wisdom; listen and learn to understand Nature's balance especially in times like these (i.e., climate change).