Egans Errors 3?

In just a decade the filter-feeding mollusks have literally turned life upside down in Lake Michigan by sucking to the bottom so much of the plankton that sustained a healthy commercial fishery.A graph is provided to show declining commercial harvests of four fish species in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, with 1994 highlighted for mussels.

What of Green Bay perch? First off the same problem, in 10 years there was a 75% drop in the number of perch before 1994.
Next, just as in Lake Michigan illegal harvesting was taking place, between 1991-1996, called the Marinette Perch Investigation. Unlike CanAm, no poundage of illegal perch harvest is quoted, nor estimates of total illegal harvest, such as Dr. Wilberg's.
Like Lake Michigan, larger size mesh is used, targeting the larger, older breeding perch. After 1997 these larger nets were withdrawn. For lack of larger perch?
The mean length of winter harvest of yellow perch was 7.4 inches, compared to 8.3 inches in 2009. "High catch rates and low harvest rates suggest that anglers sorted through many small fish to find a keeper." also from Lake Michigan Management Reports - 2011 section Green Bay Yellow Perch - Tammie Paoli
"Of concern is the lack of a corresponding increase in the total adult population." 90% of perch harvested is less then 4 years old.

Free test, do as Lake Michigan and protect large perch by raising the minimum commercial harvest size from 7.5 to 9.5 inches and see if there is a corresponding increase in the total adult population of perch.

While in Lake Michigan; "In 2010 sport harvest, the 5-year-old 2005 year-class yellow perch comprised 54% of the catch followed by 2006 (20%) and 2007 (14%) year-classes." & "These rule changes are implemented to benefit perch population recovery by reducing impact on spawning stocks, and allowing mature adults to spawn multiple years in their life time." Same report but the section on Lake Michigan Yellow Perch - Pradeep Hirethota

One might ask Mr. Egan, how the same invasive mussels in Green Bay and Lake Michigan, effect the perch fishery in totally opposite ways? Green Bay has only small perch, in greater numbers while Lake Michigan has mostly large perch in small numbers. The obvious difference are the nets. An estimated 427,000 Green Bay perch or 23% of perch were harvested in 2008. But what of the additional pressure to perch, from Walleye, Pike and Musky. Alewives crashed because of too much pressure, so what of prey species pressure in Green Bay. They are gone now too, except Round Goby and Burbot. Something’s got to give, their are a lot of fish with teeth wanting food in Green Bay, so what does everyone expect them to eat?
With too few forage fish, watch for commercials to talk of too many predators, such as walleyes. Oh wait, that's already happened, #11, page 4. I wonder if they'll offer to help net those extra walleyes when PCB levels are lower?

Mr. Egan’s story of Lake Michigan commercials was right up there with the loss of old growth lumberjacks and buffalo hunters. I thought Mr. Egan missed the chance to ask the WDNR some questions pertaining to fixing problems instead of dwelling on the past. For example:

- Why are Lake Trout and Lake Herring still listed as Lake Michigan commercial species, despite not being fished in over 40 years?
- Doesn’t the stocking of over 100 million Lake Trout qualify to having that species removed from the commercial’s list?
- Since alewives and smelt were in the past blamed for the loss of herring and chubs, now that alewives and smelt are almost gone, why haven’t chubs and herring made a comeback?
- Why were only alewives removed as a commercial species in 1991 to increase forage base, why not smelt too?
- Why weren't perch removed as a commercial species in 1996?
- Why not stock herring to restore them and increase the salmon forage base?
- Is Lake Michigan better off with a greater number of the invasive alewife rather then the native lake herring?
- What does the WDNR plan to do with the Federal dollars from the Great Lakes Restoration Fund?