The Cost ?

Does the public takes a loss on every perch caught by commercial fishermen, not including the over $700,000 per year taken from sport license fees to subsidize commercials?
How is this for the math, 4 perch to the pound; 40% of perch is filets, giving a max value per perch of 10% of filet value.
Wisconsin Outdoor News, Oct. 22, 2004, page 8, article containing quotes from Brad Eggold DNR. Per this article: ‘To get the size of perch needed, the DNR would have to spend 16 cents for a 1- to 2-inch perch, and 30 cents for a 4-inch fish’.
With each perch being worth 10% of $10 per pound filet value, each perch is worth $1, before a single cost. Now quoting a DNR report: “According to the 1984 report of the Ad Hoc Great Lakes Fisheries Task Force, large commercial fishers realize approximately 12% gross income from dockside landing values after business expenses are deducted.”
So that would mean the commercial sees a gross profit of about 12 cents per 8-inch perch. Remember, it costs 16 cents to stock a 1-2 inch perch and 30 cents per 4-inch perch, so it becomes obvious that we’re better off buying our perch for Lake Michigan stocking, from commercials rather then from hatcheries.
The greatest value for stocking though is to stock Green Bay. Instead of gross, let’s talk net profit. Gross profit of 12% the 2006 perch harvest would be $30,000 with net much lower depending on tax bracket. I say let’s give the commercial perch fishermen $30,000 total, from sport license fees to NOT catch perch. It’s a win-win, the $30,000 is greater then net profit for the whole year, the sportsmen get to leave larger perch in the lake for 12 cents each.
As an added financial incentive, by paying commercial perch fishermen to stay at the dock, the sportsmen of this state will see a decrease in the amount of funds taken, from sport license fees, by not having to pay to manage and enforce commercial perch fishing. We know it costs more then $30,000 per year for warden enforcement, we know other species of game fish are being killed in the millions of feet of net used to catch perch, we know that with bigger perch and larger limits the local economy will benefit by more then $30,000 due to increased tourism from sport perch fishing.
Everyone wins, the commercial make more money, the sportsmen save money and the public wind up with more perch in Lake Michigan. Remember, commercial fishing only works with perch being produced in the Lake for free, and since that has not been the case since 1996, and since stocking perch now cost more then replacing them, time to close perch to netters.

What cost do sportsmen ultimately pay, especially perch fisherman?

The State, in having commercial fishing takes in about $78,000 in licenses and fees. The taxpayer contributes about $75,000 of their hard earned money, the sportsmen then contribute about $700,000 of Fish & Wildlife Account funds and finally the public contributes about $6 million on average in free fish, per year.
So, in order to have a few jobs related to commercial fishing, the State shelled out almost $4 million in order to take in about $78,000.
But that’s not really the end of it. The sportsmen and public lost a perch fishery twice, 1963 and 1996, which still hasn't recovered, they also lost a smelt fishery. Saw the Salmon fishery hit hard in the early 90’s because DNR biologists didn’t see a problem with removing hundreds of millions of pounds of alewives for pennies a pound and stocking as many Salmon as they could. At least not until they saw the Salmon starving.
I see a pattern here, DNR biologist don’t see a problem with commercial fishing, until a fishery is gone. Sportsmen might wish to watch Green Bay next, 51 million perch down to less then 2 million. While the cost of a lost perch fishery on SE Wisconsin may have been between $10 and $30 million a year, the cost to Green Bay should be somewhat greater. Since Green Bay includes Walleye, Pike and Musky fisheries dependent to different degrees on perch, those fisheries would probably suffer like the Salmon fishery did, for the lack of food. What the final cost will be to Wisconsin, we‘ll just have to wait and see. Based on history, the commercial perch quota on Green Bay should be coming down in 2011 or 2012. If some Walleye group wishes to help, we could probably see how closely, Green Bay walleye stocking vs perch numbers, compares to Salmon stocking vs Alewives 1980-1991. Contact us at