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Jay Wesley

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About Jay Wesley

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  • Birthday 07/29/1970

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    Fisheries Manager for MDNR
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  1. Research biologist from around the pond developed a list of indicators that we have been looking at for many years. Here are some of them that I can think of: Chinook weight for age 2 and 3 Chinook condition % water in flesh weir returns (Little Manistee and Strawberry creek) Catch per Effort Coho weight Forage biomass both trawl data and hydroaccustics Alewife year class strength % natural reproduction Incidence of disease (i.e. bkd) Composition of catch (how many chinook compared to lake trout, brown, steelhead coho, etc) Not sure if I got them all. There are about 15 in total that are looked at. Fish weight is important because it means that the fish are finding food or not. You can argue all you want about our forage data or how much forage is out there. If the fish are good size, you know that there is good forage. I also like to look at catch rates. When catch rates are high, it typically means that fish are more hungry (not always though). Alewife year class strength and how good year classes survive through the years is also important.
  2. Here is how the port by port reductions will take place this spring: http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2012/12/making_the_cut_state_officials.html
  3. For Immediate Release August 27, 2012 PROPOSED SALMON STOCKING REDUCTIONS ANNOUNCED FOR LAKE MICHIGAN ANN ARBOR, MI—Following more than a year of consultation with angler groups and other stakeholders, the Lake Michigan Committee (LMC) has proposed a new management strategy for Lake Michigan salmon. Beginning in spring of 2013, the LMC recommends that Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Michigan be reduced to one-half of current stocking levels. With salmon egg collections to begin in September, 2012, fisheries management agencies are now developing plans to decrease fingerling production targets to levels supporting reduced stocking, for a minimum of three years. The LMC comprises representatives from each of the state fisheries management agencies in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA). The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) facilitates the committee’s activities. The proposed Chinook salmon reduction is in response to recent increases in natural reproduction of Chinook and declines in the forage base. Recent studies have shown that approximately 55% of Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan is produced naturally, and prey fish (e.g., alewife) are currently at or near historic low levels, conditions similar to those leading to the collapse of prey fish populations in Lake Huron. The planned stocking reductions are intended to maintain a quality Chinook salmon fishery, while reducing the predation on the forage population. While Chinook salmon are highly dependent on alewives, all Great Lakes salmonids use those forage fish to varying degrees. Balancing predator and prey populations by reducing predation pressure is necessary to stabilize the ecosystem as well as to preserve the quality and diversity of the multi-billion-dollar sport fishery. The LMC’s approach gained widespread support from all agencies and their constituents throughout the decision-making process. Along with the proposed reductions, an adopted monitoring plan should allow management agencies to react quickly if conditions change. Each LMC member agency must still approve and implement the committee’s recommendations. Under the proposed agreement, the 3.3 million Chinook salmon annually stocked into Lake Michigan would be reduced by 1.6 million fish, for a total of 1.7 million fish to be stocked. Of the reduced stocking, Michigan would shoulder the largest reduction, stocking 1.1 million fewer fish, since Michigan streams currently contribute the majority of the natural reproduction. Wisconsin would reduce its stocking by 440,000 fish, while Illinois and Indiana would reduce by 20,000 and 25,000 fish, respectively. The CORA tribes do not stock Chinook salmon. This proposed stocking reduction should still provide for fall spawning runs for stream and nearshore anglers. Each agency will work with their respective management teams to implement these changes in the manner most appropriate to each jurisdiction. Contacts: Tom Gorenflo, CORA: 906-632-0072 Marc Gaden, GLFC: 734-417-8012 Steve Robillard, Illinois: 847-294-4134 Jeremy Price, Indiana: 260-244-6805 Jay Wesley, Michigan: 269-685-6851 x 117 Brad Eggold, Wisconsin: 414-382-7921
  4. If the states really wanted just lake trout, we would let the salmon fishery crash. This is what has allowed Lake Huron's lake trout to rehabilitate. We are trying are best to manage for a diverse fishery. It may be impossible with all the invasives, but we are doing are best. Give me a call sometime, you sound like a very education person that may be able to offer some good insights. Perhaps you are willing to serve on a committee or two. Thanks! Jay
  5. All 4 options were put out to public comment because they could accomplish our objectives. When you look at the break down of the public comment by state, Mich preferred option 2. This is also what I heard while talking with the public. Option 4 was run in the model to reduce chinook 30% and all other species 10%. It really started to get muddy when one state was just going to cut lake trout and another was just going to cut brown trout. After a lot of discussion as a lake committee, Option 2 made the most sense and was logistically the easiest to implement and make more frequent changes. Coho, brown trout, lake trout, and steelhead are in the hatcheries for 18 months, so it takes a full year after a decision is made to change the stocking. We can make a decision to increase or decrease chinook stocking and implement that change the following year. More details to come. Some states may also cut other species using chinook equivalents.
  6. Hey Jay, I love muskies and now Im diggin on salmon!! Keep up the good work brother! -kid coulson (michigan muskie aklliance)

  7. I have seen a few pictures from Lake Michigan. Reminds me of Bacterial Kidney Disease. However, we can not tell for sure unless it is analyzed in a lab. We do test the adult fish at the weirs for BKD, so it will be interesting to see if that disease is showing itself again.
  8. The Lake Michigan Committee will provide a news release once a final decision has been made. The Lake Committee has a meeting on the 23rd. An announcement should come shortly after. Details of each states reduction and options to use other species will also come out. One reason that there is differential survival of hatchery vs. wild chinook is not because the hathery fish are dying, they actually have faster growth so they return earlier. Wild fish grow slower and tend to make up the majority of the 3 and 4 year olds. This is why the OTC marking showed 60-70% wild fish with the 3 and 4 year olds. For Michigan, we are committed to the Lake Trout Rehabilitation Strategy. We also had a number of comments that lake trout are a valuable nearshore fishery when other species are not around. We (Michigan) will consider brown trout reductions at ports that are interested. Brown trout are expensive to raise and creel returns are low.
  9. Thanks for your comments. There is a lake trout rehabilitation plan for Lake Michigan and it goes out to 2025 I believe. If there is no natural reproduction after that, there will be a change in management. We could reduce the nearshore stocking though, which is mainly for sport fishing.
  10. The natural reproduction is a result of better water quality, better dam management, and increased access to spawning sites on multiple rivers in Michigan as well as in Lake Huron in Ontario. Are you suggesting that we reduce water quality and build more dams to prevent natural reproduction? This would affect many species of fish that are not stocked including natives.
  11. Option 4 was the best ranked option Lakewide. This results in reducing chinook salmon 30% and coho, brown trout, steelhead and lake trout by 10%. Which species should be cut the least if we mix and match species?
  12. This message is sent on behalf of Dr. Daniel O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant SW District Hello, Thank you for taking time to respond to the 2012 Lake Michigan Salmon Stocking Survey or expressing interest in survey results. The results are now available and are being considered along with biological data and other factors as managers move toward a decision on future stocking policy. Survey results for the four options presented at the April 14 public meeting were as follows: OPTION 1: 50% reduction in Chinook salmon stocking for 2013. Average Rating: FAIR (1.97) Ranking: 69% WORST, 11% BEST OPTION 2: 50% reduction in Chinook salmon stocking for 2013; automatically adjust stocking in future based on feedback policy. Average Rating: between FAIR and NEUTRAL (2.61) Ranking: 2% WORST, 20% BEST OPTION 3: 30% reduction in Chinook salmon stocking and 10% reduction in coho salmon, steelhead, and brown trout stocking for 2013; automatically adjust stocking in future based on feedback policy. Average Rating: NEUTRAL (2.96) Ranking: 8% WORST, 15% BEST OPTION 4: 30% reduction in Chinook salmon stocking and 10% reduction in coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout, and lake trout stocking for 2013; automatically adjust stocking in future based on feedback policy. Average Rating: between NEUTRAL and GOOD (3.28) Ranking: 20% WORST, 54% BEST A majority (55%) of people who took the survey did not feel the four options could be improved upon, but 15% proposed greater reductions in stocking and 18% proposed lesser reductions in stocking. With five species being considered and a wide range of opinions expressed there was not a clear-cut consensus among stakeholders regarding the perfect option. However, 97% of respondents agreed that Chinook salmon stocking should be reduced to some extent. For full details see the fact sheet at: http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/downloads/fisheries/stocking/12-716-Salmon-Stocking-Survey.pdf Dan O'Keefe, Ph.D. Southwest District Extension Educator Michigan Sea Grant Michigan State University Extension 12220 Fillmore St., Suite 122 West Olive, MI 49456 phone - (616) 994-4580 fax - (616) 994-4579 [email protected]
  13. Here are a couple of articles that may help with the discussion. http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/fishing/SalmonDailyBagLimitFAQ.pdf http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1577/M08-129.1#preview
  14. This has nothing to do with saving money. Chinook are the least expensive salmon or trout to raise. This is about looking at the trends of the lake and trying to prevent a collapse like Lake Huron. Based on the public comments to date, most anglers want to maintain a chinook fishery. In order to do that, we need to balance the predator and prey numbers. Yes. You are marking a lot of the 2010 year class of alewife. However, that is the only year class supporting the fishery now. We have stated that chinook stocking will increase if the prey rebound, so this is not about saving money. It is about saving a salmon fishery. There is a ton of information on the Michigan Sea Grant web site. These data have been collected by each state's DNRs, United States Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and multiple university studies. They all come to a similar conclusion that we are predator heavy now. Take a look at it and while you are there take the survey and offer other ideas. The survey is open until May 15th. Thanks
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