|Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Time Line -
Dedicated to providing all the information which seems to points to a pattern by the WDNR of favoring the commercial fishing industry, despite State Statue, the cost and the damage to various sport fisheries. (representing the opinion of the authors of this website and contributing authors.)
Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Conservation Groups
|Year||Commercial Harvest lbs.||% female||
Contact us at : email@example.com ---------------------------------------- old page
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|1953||264,000||Commercial Lake Trout fishery is closed, shifting commercial pressure to other species.|
|1955||791,000||Spread sheet of Commercial fishing back to 1882|
|1957||992,000||commercial fishing of alewives started.|
|1958||1,237,000||Commercial perch harvest up almost 500% since the closure of Lake Trout.|
|1960||1,048,000||Current Graded Mesh Survey|
|1965||157,000||Perch overfished first time (alewives blamed) ;5 yr average of 1.5 million lbs average harvest before vs 52,000 after 1965, only took 12 years after the Trout closure to fish out the perch.|
|1970||60,000||State of Michigan closes commercial fishing|
|1971||55,000||Value of commercial harvests by year USGS|
|1974||39,000||Half way point for commercial alewive harvest, with 271 million lbs. taken. First 4 million of 30 million walleys stocked in Door Co.|
|1977||33,000||Wisconsin Legislature (Chapter 418, Laws of 1977, Section 923 (37) (d) 3) - Revision of Laws for the WDNR, including 'an economically viable'
and stable commercial fishery and an active recreational fishery. Economically viable? how do subsidies from sport license money starting in 1989,do that? Way to break the law? Short version of just (37) click here. Active recreational fishery, not for perch starting in 1995 with the shortage of those fish.
Commercial Herring fishery closed.
|1978||23,000||179,000 inland strain yellow perch planted in Lake Michigan off Milwaukee. Walleyes stocked in Green Bay,|
|1979||7,000||Commercial Walleye fishing closed.|
|1981||57,000||200,000 Green Bay strain yellow perch stocked in Milwaukee Harbor, 20 million more walleyes stocked in Green Bay|
|1982||47,000||No limit on commercial harvest of perch, sport harvest is 50|
|1983||156,000||Last 10 million of 23 million walleyes stocked in Lake Michigan off of Manitowoc|
|1984||270,000||Commercial Carp fishing closed. See some other commercial closures and cuts|
|1985||249,000||Commercial perch harvest up 40 fold, just 4 years after the second stocking of perch by WDNR.|
|1986||372,000||46%||7.5 " average size of sport caught perch, 8.9" for commercially caught; First 2 of 10 million walleyes stocked Milwaukee over next 8 years. Best response ever by commercials in reporting perch tags, was beer the reason? .|
|1987||545,000||44%||Just 9 years after the first stocking, commercials report taking about 1.6 million perch, so much for the WDNR protecting a fish population that had to be stocked to save it, while the stocked Walleye fishery was closed 8 years ago.|
|1988||431,000||44%||Entire 20 million perch population only able to support sport harvest (per Dr. Wilberg);
FM-40-88 introduced to define Northern Pike as an illegal fish, thereby permanently protecting them from any future commercial fishing.
|1989||267,000||31%||Wisconsin Commercial Quota System put in place for perch trying to cut down on violating & 15 million feet of net set off Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Co,'s - harvest split 60/40 by weight, favoring commercials. The reward for taking, more and larger perch is to give commercials, more large perch.
Quota system installed by WDNR now damages the perch fishery in the following ways:
-Allows commercials to target pre-spawn perch, fishing in March & April as never before to almost 33% of total effort. Longer season means fewer checks by wardens (only 2.5% of all trips) and /or increased cost of monitoring the fleet.
-Encourages setting larger mesh nets to catch larger perch, mostly female and placing them on the spawning reefs.
-Pounds of fish caught in those nets, unknown, due to gross violations in reporting, see CanAm, see Dr. Wilberg.
Surveys find recruitment now drops to all most nothing, and %females which had been stable at around 40%+ , quickly drops to 5% before the WDNR is forced to close commercial fishing of perch in Lake Michigan.
How long would a walleye or salmon fishery survive if nets were strung across the river during spawning runs, but yet the WDNR allowed the placements of nets on perch reefs for 48 weeks of they year.
|1990||253,000||39%||CanAm sting starts. 12 of 39 commercial fishers have 80% of quota. Northern Pike commercial fishery closed.|
|1991||282,000||28%||One-third ($61,000) of expenditures for commercial fishing management during the 1991-92 fiscal year were derived from sport license fees. First Walleye shows up in Milwaukee creel survey after almost 7 million walleyes stocked.
Third year of commercial perch fishing under Quota system, estimate an average of 74% of all critial spawning female perch were caught by commercials, for each of the past 3 years. So starts the destruction of the perch fishery in Lake Michigan?
|1992||282,000||18%||Comercial alewife fishery closed after a total of 624 million lbs. but not Smelt, even though their number are down. Salmon are found to be starving? Alewife predation blamed for failure of young of perch, what alewives? See 1997.|
CanAm Ends 406,000 lbs of illegal perch admitted being taken, yet WNDR Quota Analysis finds no need to change commercial quota limit of 320,000 lbs (about 960,000 perch) to offset illegal harvest and despite current lack of females.
CanAm finds fishers failed to report fish caught. This could be a tool for law enforcement, as trips and net usage are easier to check. This would show up as efficiency, fish caught per trip and net use. If you check the commercial fishing database, it is surprising to see, for some fishers, efficiency drops after 1988 (quota system) while others fishers improve.
|1994||254,000||11%||The WDNR appears to be still be in violation of NR 1.01 (9) (a),(b) & (c)|
|1995||126,000||10%||WDNR Quota Analysis NOW(?) finds need to cut perch harvest so FM-2-95 introduced to cut perch limit by 65% to 107,000 lbs for commercials. Michigan DNR stocks 145,402 perch in Lake Michigan, at Little Bay De Noc, 'These yellow perch plants were all transfers of surplus fish from inland rearing ponds or fish that were removed from inland lakes to reduce population densities.'|
|1996||20,000||5%||Sport harvest is lowered to 5 and commercial perch fishery temporarily closed; 11 Lake Superior Lake Trout fishers bought out for $1.4 million. 1995 limit of 11,600 Lake Trout raised to 13,430 in 1997, why wasn't the limit set to 6,480 as per agreement? I believe that sportsmen were ripped off of $1.4 million.
WDNR finds the department lacks adequate law enforcement to monitor commercial fishers. Anyone surprised the perch disappeared?
|1997||0||11%||WNDR early perch study and broodstock project, purpose to harvest 10 skeins of perch eggs, can only collect 6 which are hatched and kept by Binkowski;
What kind of questionable practice is taking all the perch eggs you can find near a historic perch-spawning reef, claiming use for broodstock, only to then NOT return those fish back into the lake at that site. Almost an entire year’s genetic memory removed with the goal of preserving them? Not to have returned those perch was I consider a perversion of the original intent and a tragic lose of valuable, possibly unique genetic traits. Where is the public's promised broodstock?
Alewife stomachs examined for predation of larva perch, no perch found in alewife's stomach by WNDR.
|1998||20%||Zero perch egg skeins found on Green Can reef but the best perch year class in over 8 years ??!!! Did some of those perch eggs get dropped back in the lake after hatching?; Perch Population est. at all time low, 674,000 perch for all of zone 3.
Marinette Perch Investigation, shows high number of violations, small penalties.
Workshop on Perch Stocking, page 6 only mentions the 1981 stocking, why was info as to 1978 stocking withheld? Also why didn't anyone think it strange that just 5 years after the first stocking, commercial harvest was up 2500% off it's 1980 low? Also note why Mr. Anderson, a commercial fisher, was against stocking perch again. Is the WDNR also against stocking perch for the same reason, to keep a commercial perch fishery? If so, WHY?
|1999||42%||9.6" average sport perch. Per USGS Green Bay commercial perch were worth 66 cents each. EPA estimates sport value|
Recommendations of the Great Lakes Commercial Fisheries Task Force. (it's big so takes time to download)
Per a NOAA report : "Yellow perch Perca flavescens is the most important nearshore sport fish in Lake Michigan, comprising nearly 85% of all recreationally caught fish and forming the basis of a multi-million dollar fishery. Furthermore, yellow perch is an important ecological link between the nearshore and pelagic food webs".
|2001||64%||Chub nets catches 20% of all perch taken from Lake Michigan for the year. DNR warnings not heeded?|
FH-04-02 cut sport season 15 days in June to save large female perch to spawn; Yet per catch records, up to 54 times as many females were caught commercially in the 15 days before spawning 1989-1993?
Sportsmen lose 15 days perch fishing to protect remaining female perch, yet Broodstock perch from 1997 were available to replace those netted perch, why didn't the WDNR use them for restocking? Because to stock perch is to end commercial perch fishing forever? It would appear that the WDNR is more concerned with protecting commercial perch fishing, then perch?
|2003||48%||160% ($321,000) of expenditures for commercial fishing management during the 2003-04 fiscal year were derived from sport/wildlife license fees. This in light of perch being worth 10 times as much if sport caught.|
Dr. Wilburg's finalized perch study, finds female perch were overfished 1986-2002, with the the result that there probably aren't enough to repopulate the lake, also estimates that illegal harvest during CanAm was 1.9 million lbs. (about 6 million perch).
1.2 million perch are stocked in Lake Superior; Value of WI Perch Aquaculture is $204,000 vs. $50,500 for Green Bay Commercial Harvest. Glover finds perch really don't move much on Lake Michigan off Milwaukee .
10.3 " average size of sport caught perch, down from 10.9" peak in 2003. At $4 per hour to the economy, millions have been lost every year from lack of sport perch fishermen, for Racine, Kenosha and Milw. counties alone. here too
"Economics alone demands that government do everything possible to maintain a viable sport fishery. Compared with an estimated $2.1 million economic impact of the five Illinois commercial operators, the Chicago sport perch fishery sustains and estimated value of $80 million". read here
Why are so many pounds of public fish being given to so few commercial fishers?
4 (out of 38) commercial fishers have 76% of the quota for all LM perch; 168 perch reported in WDNR Milwaukee creel survey vs. 15 walleyes
Hearing for increasing the commercial quota in Green Bay. Question 24. "Comment: Commercial harvest can decimate a yellow perch population. Response: This is correct."
1971 to date, about $318 million (adjusted for inflation) of public fish have been given away to Wisconsin commercial fisherman. source USGS. Click here. How big does this number have to be, to not receive sport license monies?
Indiana study finds overfishing of Lake Michigan Yellow Perch, supporting Willberg's conclusions.
May -Spring Hearing, Question 58 - should commercial perch fishing on Lake Michigan be closed permanently? The vote was 69 counties 'yes' vs. 3 counties 'no'. Please call and remind your representative of this.
June - Perch for tomorrow Article by Paul Smith. What's with the conflicting data? If a limit of perch is 35 in Michigan and 5 in Wisconsin, why are mussels blamed, are there 7 times as many mussels in Wisconsin waters? Are there really any studies finding YOY (young of year) perch to be starving? Or is lack of YOY perch due to lack of females? WDNR stated that stocking of perch is “not realistic”, but then why in the past, did they stock perch? Salmon, Trout, Walleye, none of those YOY seem to survive either, so why is it realistic to stock those species but not perch?
Good new bad news from the Conservation Congress:
This site has just received some preliminary information regarding the possible domestication of the WI. Lake Michigan strain of Yellow Perch. There also may have an attempted sale or possible sale of 14,000 Yellow Perch. This site will post details as they made available to us.
FH-13-08, the new rules for commercial fishing - this would have been the proper time to save sportmen from being taxed $350,000 per year to subsidize the commercial fleet, with estimates having that possibly rise to $1-$2 million per year. Reporting fictitious harvest numbers on computers is just as easy to do as paper. Of course there are no provisions for automatic permanent revocation of license, just more monitoring, no matter how many violations. And guess who pays for that extra monitoring, think of it as the Repeat Offender Tax on your fishing license. click here for a great puzzle.
2008 Yellow perch harvest report for Lake Michigan is out. The number of Perch caught is down 97% to just 20,650, down from 886,500 in 1992. No wonder the piers are deserted, only 869 perch caught from all of the piers on Lake Michigan. 73% off those 20,000 perch were caught in Milwaukee & Racine counties, or near the Green Can Reef.
Jan. I think the sportsmen are starting to be heard, keep it up. check out 4/n.
Please also note 4/g : Cormorants could account for up to 30% perch mortality in Green Bay. Let’s NOT pay more money to the WDNR to control Cormorants instead of saving and making money by closing the commercial fishing of perch. How much lower would perch mortality be, without a few million ft of net in Green Bay. Why not protect the large female perch (which produce 15 times as many eggs) in Green Bay as the WDNR demands of Lake Michigan? see 2002, FH-04-02.
Apr. Spring CCongress vote, Question 75, to protect Lake Michigan yellow perch, prohibit all commercial fishing in grids1901, 1902, 2002, vote results, 3850 yes vs. 574 no, all 72 counties passed this with a yes vote.
Question 75 rejected by WDNR.
Resolution 410109- elimination of the Great Lakes Commercial Fishing subsidy.
FH-23-09 - increase the Whitefish quota 16%. While a few fishers share up to $300,000 of new fish every year, the sporting men & women of this State, see more of their sport license funds go to subsidizing the fleet? How is this not a tax on the sportsmen of this State? Also, since about 40% of the Whitefish quota goes uncaught every year, why is this even being put before the Legislature? So a couple of fishers can profit? Please contact your Rep. and ask them.
More subsidies for commercial fishers, AB-449, no sales tax on boat fuel, read here, check for your reps name. Who are taxpayers helping, a fisher making 127 trips to get $122,000 in free fish, or the one making 100 trips to get $6500 in fish? Can the Lake can support a Quota fishery any longer?
FH-21-08 allowing commercial fisher to re-enter the business after allowing a license to lapse. Another subsidy. Now commercial license income is only collected during profitable years, unprofitable years the sportsmen can contribute more funds and commercials less. I believe this to also be further proof that the WDNR can't provide for a 'stable' commercial fishery as required by the 1977 law. How does the WDNR even budget for enforcement of commercials, not knowing how many will even be fishing then next year? You can't, hence the sportsmen or taxpayer will have to pay the price?
Five years since the mentioned 2005 target date to end Fish & Wildlife Account monies subsidy of commercial fishing, resulting in another $3.5 million loss of funds, that should have been used for sport projects, deer herd management, fish management, to save fish and to save Lake Micihgan?
Do the sportsmen and women of this State have to hire an attorney and sue the DNR to stop taking Fish & Wildlife Account funds used to subsidize commercial fishing, in violation of the 1977 Law?
Read here an article about the Perch in Green Bay. Some interesting points, perch numbers are down 96% from 1984. Perch eat the invasive spiny water flea. Despite this, commercial fishing for perch start at just 7.5 inches. So many other fish that eat an invasive are protected from nets and stocked, why aren't perch?
WDNR discriminate against perch by rejecting Question 58. Per notes (p4) protection of perch would only be 'symbolic', yet Walleyes, Herring, Alewives are protected by a zero harvest limit and Northern Pike by being removed from NR 25 in 1988 per a WDNR request.
Fisheries Management and Ecology, 2008, 15, 39–47, "Commercial fishers exploiting females as a result of sexually dimorphic growth may reduce spawning stock to levels low enough to suppress recruitment (Myers & Barrowman 1996; Myers, Bowen & Barrowman 1999)". Studied, Reported, and Proven, Historically accurate with years of proof, yet the WDNR refuses to close commercial perch fishing to protect and enhance the perch fishery and the jobs dependent on it.
WDNR "An absence of commercial harvest in Lake Michigan certainly has helped decrease the impact on fast
growing larger female perch in the fishery, allowing them to spawn multiple years". See Wilberg as to the critical importance of these perch. So why allow commercial fishing of perch in Green Bay or in the future? So that female perch will be able to spawn only one year before caught in nets?
Question 81 on this Springs Conservation Congress ballot, should tax money or sport license money be used to subsidize commercial fishing? I believe this to be an illegal question, as the 1977 law finds that commercial fishing be 'economically viable', can't be subsidized. The question asks the public, in which way they would prefer to violate the law? The public should introduce new resolutions in every county, demanding that in order to protect sport monies, all commercial fishing be closed now and stay closed until it's 'economically viable' or until the Legislature changes the law and appropriates the necessary public funds. Enough, is Enough, license fees and sports money for sportsmen's use, not increased profits for private businesses?
What's best for the perch, is best for Lake Michigan, yet again and again, I believe that the WDNR, though their actions, have shown that they don't care what's best for Michigan instead they believe in what's best for the commercial fisherman.
We recommend you read Carl's corner. here
Let's start making the WNDR and politicians stop wasting money. The Quota system doesn't work, hasn't worked since day one, it doesn't protect the fish, and costs too much money. Stop trying to improve the Lake Michigan near shore fishery by stocking walleyes and exotic trout species. It hasn’t worked in 20 years and the money would be better spent on perch. Stop subsidizing commercials with sport monies, save the large female perch from the nets. Let's not allow the yellow perch be overfished for a third time. Treat the perch like Northern Pike, remove it from commercial species, time for the perch to finally be protected too. If you want to wipe out a salmon fishery, everyone know's you just have to string a net across thier spawning stream(s). I believe that is what happened to the perch, nets were strung across their spawning reefs until they were almost gone.Supporting data will hopefully be found here in the future. Join the Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Conservation Groups in the quest to save and bring back the Lake Michigan yellow perch.