The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources finds that prudent management of Lake Michigan’s yellow perch population is needed for enough spawning stock to survive, according to a release from the organization. It summarizes a recently released report on the issue.
Officials at the Wisconsin DNR say that the perch fishery in Lake Michigan is not nearly as good as that existing in the lake during the 1970s. This is due to damages brought about by invasive zebra and quagga mussels, biologists say.
Because both types of mussels take nutrients out of the water and concentrate them near the bottom of the lake, perch in larval stages that feed near the lake’s surface don’t get the nourishment they need.
“The short answer is that, unless we can get rid of the quagga mussel, the yellow perch population will continue to be negatively affected,” said Brad Eggold, fisheries supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
As yellow perch account for approximately 17 percent of the sport catch in Lake Michigan, report authors encourage:
- programs that prevent or slow the spread of invasive species;
- enhanced habitats in Lake Michigan wetlands and nearshore areas to give juvenile perch nursery space;
- continued cooperation between Great Lakes states to monitor yellow perch populations;
- and further monitoring of phytoplankton, zooplankton and macro-invertebrates in nearshore areas.