Tag Archives: Great Lakes

Inland Fisheries: A big fight in Lansing over fishing rules on the Great Lakes

Dana Serafin still hauls in 20,000-pound boatloads of whitefish to supply regional restaurants and markets, Native whitefish, the main livelihood for Serafin and other Great Lakes commercial fishermen, have been in decline for years amid changes to the food web, replaced in Serafin’s nets by healthier populations of walleye and lake trout that he’s not allowed to keep. Chinook salmon, once a favorite of recreational anglers on lakes Michigan and Huron, have also plummeted in Lake Michigan, and all but disappeared from Lake Huron. Battles are brewing over fishing rights from recreational, commercial, Native American, and environmental group meddling. Video, >click to read< 13:41

Federal Relief: Great Lakes fisheries finally get a cut of Coronavirus relief funds

After being snubbed in 2020, the folks who make their living by fishing the Great Lakes ­­– both commercially and for sport – have been included in the latest round of federal relief from the economic ravages of COVID-19.,, Neither group was included in the massive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security  Act that passed in March 2020, even though $300 million was specifically earmarked for U.S. fisheries.,, Getting the Great Lakes included in CRRSA was just the beginning. Now comes the harder work of figuring out how to access the money. Video, >click to read< 16:10

Family owned working waterfront fishing businesses displaced by waterfront developments on Great Lakes

For three generations, the Minor family, today brothers Carson and Landon and their father Paul, have been up before first light to board their fishing tug and make their way to their fishing grounds on Lake Erie. Most mornings, the Minors leave from Port Colborne, Ont., Each afternoon they return to the port to unload their fresh catch of perch and pickerel.,, Without warning, the unloading zone their family had used for more than 70 years was blocked off. They were forced to move to a new port further away from their fishing grounds, increasing travel time and putting them at greater risk during bad weather.,, The Minors’ story is not new, nor is it isolated. Working waterfront access is being affected by coastal gentrification, also called “coastal grabbing” >click to read< 16:47

Congress gave $300 million to help fisheries. The Great Lakes got zero. Why were they left out?!

The nationwide shutdown was especially ill-timed for fishers in the Great Lakes. “We had reports of commercial fishermen in Michigan who had a catch with absolutely nowhere to sell it,” Luckily, there was a plan in place to help commercial fishers and charter boats. But when it came time to distribute that funding, most of the Great Lakes states were left out altogether. That came as a shock to many fishers. “Right up until the final hour, a lot of the Great Lakes fishery participants thought that they were going to be included,” says Gravelle. Why the Great Lakes were left out? >click to read< 14:53

Commercial fishing sails into final chapter

The final nail in the coffin? According to the news, the traditional mom-and-pop style operations would move out of the Great Lakes for good, and leave the door open only for large, investor-style operations to take over the industry. “What it does, it finally just chokes us out,” said Amber Peterson, operator of The Fish Monger’s Wife, one of the remaining commercial fisheries. “It doesn’t even offer us the dignity of a quick death.” >click to read< stories related to this post, >click here< 10:15

Offshore Wind Farms are new danger for Lake Erie through Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal

The proposal to install offshore wind turbines on the Eastern side of Lake Erie was brought to my attention during the annual Woodlawn Beach cleanup last September. Since then I have learned much about how negative this would be for Lake Erie and the people and wildlife that depend on it, the protests around the world against these types of projects and the media paywalls that are stifling our knowledge of them. Global developers have called the Great Lakes the “Saudi Arabia of Wind,” and surprisingly, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups that oppose Peace Bridge reconstruction and shoreline development endorse the turbines. Can you see the dollar signs? Can you trust a global industry with our fresh water? By Mary Henson, >click to read< 14:22

Commercial Fisherman lost in Lake Erie after going overboard

Divers from the OPP are searching Lake Erie for a man who is missing after going overboard from a commercial fishing vessel Monday morning. The incident happened about 13 kilometres west of Long Point around 10:15 a.m. The fisherman is being identified as Michael Smith, of Port Dover, Ontario from the fishing tug Donna F. “He was loved by all and had an amazing number of friends amongst the fishermen and Port Doverites alike,” photo, boatnerd.com >click to read< 19:11

Cormorants damaging fish populations

It is estimated there are about 230,000 double-crested cormorants around the Great Lakes, each eating an estimated 1.3 to 1.6 pounds of fish a day. That equals more than 77 million pounds of fish per year, according to a report from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The birds eat minnows, alewives, shad, round gobies, other prey-fish, and they also devour significant numbers of yellow perch, stocked trout, salmon, walleye, pike, and panfish. “Cormorants are uncontrolled and wreaking havoc on our Great Lakes,” said Lakon Williams, who manages the Bay Port Fish Company. “Since the Zebra Mussel invasion, the lakes and the water are cleaner than ever.” >click to read< 15:43

Michigan House Bills Ban Commercial Perch Fishing on Great Lakes

Lakon Williams of the Bay Port Fish Co. expressed her concern. The company nets whitefish and perch in Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. “I knew that that was going to happen, unfortunately we’ve been trying since the summertime to get through to the House of Representatives that this isn’t what we want and this isn’t what we need, and that this will put us out of business. It’s just kind of fallen on deaf ears,” she said. Video, >click to read< 10:16

In the Great Lakes’ most productive fishing grounds, algae-fueled dead zones are eroding livelihoods

From his lakefront dock in Crystal Rock, 70 miles west of Cleveland, Dean Koch still gleefully reminisces on his career as a commercial fisherman in the heyday. At his first industry meeting in Sandusky in the late 1960s, fishing moguls booked the entire Holiday Inn and filled all the rooms. Back then, fishermen set hundreds of miles of gill nets and thousands of trap nets in Lake Erie.,, Now, Koch, 70, says, the number of fishermen who hold commercial licenses could sit around the small round table in his garage. >click to read<  08:22

Asian carp: Turning a nuisance into a commodity for the Great Lakes

One of the great myths about Asian carp is that the war against them will be won if the Great Lakes region succeeds in keeping them out of Lake Michigan. Indeed the stakes are high in that part of the Midwest, including in communities that wrap around the fertile fishing waters of Lake Erie’s western basin, and the rivers that feed into the lake.,, But the Great Lakes are the site of only one battle in the Asian carp war, and environmental experts contend there is no apparent end in sight to what has evolved over several decades into a slow-moving biological disaster cutting across the heart of North America, Video, photo’s, >click to read< 17:20

Great Lakes Recreational Grab-Bills would squeeze commercial fishermen, help sportsfishermen

Michigan House lawmakers last week advanced legislation to tighten regulations on Great Lakes commercial fishers, escalating a fight between the long-declining industry and sportfishing groups. The legislation would increase commercial fishing license fees from about $200 to $1,400; exponentially boost fines, tighten reporting requirements on commercial catches and how fishermen tend their nets… The biggest area of contention: The bills also will codify into law a current Department of Natural Resources ban on commercial harvesting of lake trout, walleye, yellow perch and other game fish, reserving them exclusively for anglers. > click to read< 19:06:16

Army Corps approves $778M plan to block Asian carp advance

The head of the Army Corps of Engineers has sent Congress a $778 million plan to fortify an Illinois waterway with noisemakers, electric cables and other devices in the hope that they will prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, where the aggressive invaders could leave other fish with too little to eat. The plan represents a compromise between proposals to erect barriers that would seal off Lake Michigan from the river and less drastic measures such as stepped-up commercial fishing.>click to read<09:14

Invasive mussels challenge commercial whitefish fishing in the Great Lakes

Denise Purvis’ family began fishing the waters of northern Lake Huron off Manitoulin Island in 1882. Over the years their operation came to expect the unpredictability of a livelihood dependent on the ability to capture wild fish. Purvis came back to the family business in the mid-1990s after college. Her return home coincided with the arrival of zebra and quagga mussels into the Great Lakes. The mussels have since become synonymous with the problem of invasive species in the Great Lakes. They’ve colonized the lakes and negatively impacted their ecology. For Purvis and the dwindling number of Great Lakes commercial whitefish fishers, the fishery has fallen on hard times. >Video, photo’s click to read<10:28

Illinois Lt. Gov: Michigan’s carp money would be too little, too late

It’s not that Illinois is being rude, or even dismissive, it’s just that Michigan’s promise of $8 million to help keep Asian carp in the Illinois River doesn’t solve today’s problem, according to the Rauner administration. Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said Illinois needs to focus on its Asian carp problem immediately.,,“He indicated that we need to act now.,,, “Imagine if we were able to take the money and double down on our commercial fishing. That’s where we are going to see a bigger impact,” Sanguinetti added. >click to read<16:35

Pricetag of Asian Carp Defense Project Climbs to $778 Million

The forecasted pricetag of a planned Asian carp defense system near Joliet, Illinois that would hopefully prevent the invasive species from infiltrating the Great Lakes has now climbed to $778 million, up from an initial estimate of $275 million, according to an update last week from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As reported by the Detroit News, the project, which would be finished sometime between 2025 and 2027, will now be reviewed by state and federal agencies. If Congress funds the initiative, an electric barrier would be installed as well as underground speakers to essentially blast noise at fish to stop them in their tracks northbound. >click to read<12:12

Turning an invasive problem into a bait solution

With concerns growing over a likely bait shortage in the lobster industry in Maine and Canada due to a drastic cut in the upcoming season’s herring quota, Nova Scotia resident Patrick Swim has a possible solution. Swim thinks he can solve the bait shortage by harvesting an invasive species. Silver carp is one of the four species of the invasive Asian carp (silver, bighead, grass, and black) that have placed the Great Lakes water system at risk. >click to read<19:45

$300 million Asian Carp control plan needs study, says Lt. Gov.

Another proposed step to prevent Asian carp in the Illinois River from invading the Great Lakes needs a careful look, Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said Monday morning aboard the twin-screw tugboat “Windy City” while it plied the Illinois River at Ottawa. In July, the Army Corps of Engineers released a new carp control system that would be installed at the Brandon Roads Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet. Of the $300 million cost of the installation the state is being asked to put up $90 million, she said,  and then pay $10 million annually in maintenance expenses,, “The actual (Asian carp) population has decreased 68 percent because of commercial fishing and other nonstructural solutions that are working,” said Del Wilkins. click here to read the story 15:43

Training Great Lakes captains – Online education makes Marine Institute a hub for Canadian harvesters

When you think about Ontario, commercial fisheries aren’t something that necessarily comes to mind. But there is a thriving industry on the Great Lakes. In fact, according to the Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association (OCFA), “Ontario is home to the largest freshwater fishery in North America.”,,, But much as with Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries, the province of Ontario’s skilled fishers are aging. “The captains are becoming older and starting to retire,” said Jane Graham, executive director of the OCFA. “We wanted to have people trained to step into the role.”,,, The online version of Fishing Master Class IV program started as a pilot project back in 2010 to meet the same needs as those of the OCFA. The initiative was developed by the Marine Institute, in partnership with the Canadian Council of Professional Sea Harvesters and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, as a way of improving training in the industry and filling the gap in (s)killed harvesters. click here to read the story 18:04

Telling it like it is! NOAA has done enough already and has failed in spectacular fashion

One wonders why a Marine Sanctuary is needed to protect shipwrecks.  Sanctuaries are usually established to protect ecosystems.  The typical reason for establishing a Sanctuary off our shores is inapplicable because our native ecosystem has been destroyed. After the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 NOAA was assigned the responsibility of protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species, essentially making the entire region a sanctuary.  NOAA has failed in spectacular fashion.,, NOAA allowed the Lamprey Eel and Alewife into our native waters shortly after the Seaway opened. These and other foreigners decimated our native fishery.  Smelt survived until the 1980’s but now they too have been displaced by some other invasive species that NOAA failed to protect us from, was it the Quagga Mussel or the Round Gobi? (must read) Click here to read the letter. 10:04

Invasive Asian carp less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan

The news is mixed as Great Lake states and the federal government continue to devote money and brainpower to stopping a potential Great Lakes ecological disaster — invasive Asian carp species making their way from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan. First the good news: The leading edge of the mass of bighead and silver carp hasn’t made much progress lately up the Mississippi and connected rivers toward Lake Michigan. Now the bad news: The younger fish — juveniles — are moving closer, the evidence shows. And they can do more damage. “The bottom line is that the juvenile front is advancing, and made a big jump last year,” said Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes. “And we still don’t have a permanent solution in place that’s going to solve this problem.” Read the story here 08:59

Great Lakes commercial fishermen get hands-on experience in emergency procedures

Photo_2_RCTo assist with this effort Michigan Sea Grant coordinated six Drill Conductor Training courses held throughout the Great Lakes region recently to help Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains fulfill U.S. Coast Guard regulations related to instruction, drills and safety orientations, and onboard emergency instruction. Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills that cover ten contingencies spelled out in the regulation. Persons conducting these drills must have passed a Drill Conductor Training course. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) assisted Michigan Sea Grant with these training efforts that were held in Michigan and Wisconsin. Read the rest here 16:54

Goldfish – A lucrative Great Lakes commercial catch

-45ec3f81f36359b7Whenever Dave DeLong brings in one of his Maumee Bay seine nets, there’s almost always one or two distinctive bright orange fish swimming around the writhing mass of bullhead, catfish and carp. DeLong, a Lake Erie commercial fisherman, makes a living hauling live fish to the Luna Pier Harbor Club, where his catch is weighed and sold. He’s been fishing for 45 years on Lake Erie and goldfish have been part of that catch every year.”We used to throw them away,” he said. Not anymore. Goldfish — larger versions of the species found in household aquariums — have been a part of the Great Lakes ecosystem for a long, long time. While that’s really no secret, most would be surprised to learn just how many actually inhabit the bi-national waters. Photo gallery, Read the rest here 13:16

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail: Evelyn S. still making history

A new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail offers opportunity to explore the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing (See Part 1, series introduction). In this article, we visit South Haven and the Michigan Maritime Museum to explore commercial fishing heritage of west Michigan as told through the historic commercial fishing vessel, Evelyn S. The Evelyn S. was built in 1939 by Sturgeon Bay Boat Works William Selman Fisheries of Manistique, Mich. She fits the typical wooden gill net fish tug design so prevalent on the waters during this period. Read the rest here 09:56

Michigan state officials recommend against Great Lakes fish farms

Three state agencies released a report recommending Michigan not pursue commercial fish farming operations in the Great Lakes because of several environmental and economic risks. The state departments of agriculture and rural development, environmental quality and natural resources released a report Wednesday on the controversial topic and proposals regarding net-pen aquaculture — a practice that involves raising fish in underwater nets, or solid structure cages serving as pens, also known as fish farming — in northern Lakes Huron and Michigan. The agencies concluded the report by urging the state not to pursue commercial net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes at this time. Read the rest here 11:31

Battle brewing over fish farming in Great Lakes

Supporters of the idea say Michigan is perfectly positioned to be a world leader in freshwater aquaculture and home to all the science, engineering and manufacturing that would accompany this growing part of the world’s food economy. But critics counter the Great Lakes are no place for so-called net-pen fish farming because of the higher risk of disease and water pollution that accompanies this method. Read the rest here 13:40

Chatham-Kent’s amazing fishing economy sometimes overlooked

carol anne IIThere are currently 16 fish processors located in various regions throughout Ontario. Here in Chatham-Kent, we have three of them, so we are well represented. The economic impacts of Lake Erie’s commercial fishing sector are significant. For the fishing sector on Lake Erie, they account for over 700 direct and indirect jobs with a GDP of over $28 million. The Lake Erie fish processing sector accounts for close to 800 direct and indirect jobs, with a GDP of over $77 million. Read the rest here 19:49

What European demand for caviar means for a Great Lakes fish

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and it has something the other Great Lakes don’t — stable populations of mostly native fish species. But scientists say a key fish in Superior’s food web is now in trouble because of mild winters and an appetite for caviar in Europe. There wasn’t much demand for lake herring until a few years ago. Craig Hoopman says it used to be fed to mink and used as fertilizer. He says around 2007, Scandinavians started buying lake herring eggs, or roe, for caviar. Listen, Read the rest here 12:11

Michigan Considers Controversial Commercial Net-Pen Aquaculture in Huron and Michigan

Several State agencies are looking at proposals to allow commercial net-pen aquaculture on the Great Lakes. The practice is controversial because of environmental concerns. WDET’s Amy Miller spoke with Tammy Newcomb; Senior Policy Advisor for the Department of Natural Resources. She says Ontario has allowed a few net-pens near Georgian Bay and now there are two Michigan proposals. This week the State is holding two public hearings on the two Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture proposals. Listen to the report here 08:29

As Our Oceans Degrade, The Environmentalist Network Stays Focused on their Overfishing Bread and Butter

Canadian scientists warn of artificial sweeteners in oceans. It means that up to 72 metric tonnes (160,000 pounds) of sweetener are pouring into Lake Erie. Because the sweeteners — used in products like diet soda, chewing gum, yogurt and as sugar replacements in tea and coffee to avoid weight gain — cannot be broken down by the human body, the artificial sweeteners pass right through. They cannot be broken down by wastewater treatment plants either, meaning the undiluted sweeteners enter the water supply used as drinking water for humans and animals. Read the rest here 10:08