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Port’s charter fishing future may hinge on plan for lake PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 20:35

Proposal to slash salmon stocking to help ecosystem raises questions about impact on city’s economy

The Great Lakes Committee on Monday recommended that the number of chinook salmon stocked in Lake Michigan be cut by 62% next year, part of a bold plan to prevent the collapse of the lake’s fishery but one that could have repercussions for charter fishermen and lakeshore communities like Port Washington that depend on tourism.
    “It’s probably the worst idea they’ve come up with,” Chad Biersach of C&D Charters, president of the Port Washington Charter Captains Association, said. “They’re going to put us out of business.
    “It’s pretty simple — less fish, less business.”
    But the committee said the recommendation is intended to make the fishery a sustainable one, noting the number of alewives — the fish that salmon and other sport fish eat — has been declining significantly for years.
    “If we make a reduction and there’s more (forage) fish than we want, in a year or two we can increase the stocking,” said Brad Eggold, the Department of Natural Resource’s southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor.
    “If we don’t ... then you’re talking about the possibility of a fishery collapse. If you’re talking about what’s the more risky move, it’s to do nothing.”
    Reducing the stock of chinook will allow other sport fish to thrive, ensuring the Lake Michigan fishery continues to be successful, officials said.

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