Gone Fishing Gone Soon?
The lake Michigan salmon population is nearing collapse according to one group following the issue closely.
Members of the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association are warning a collapse is near. The group says the downfall is coming potentially within the next two years. They’re urging the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to act now.
The group says pressure on baitfish specifically the alewife could cause a chinook collapse similar to what Lake Huron experienced in the late 1990’s.
The groups further warns the effects of a fishery collapse would mimic the Lake Huron situation. Bait shops would be boarded up, charter services and guides would be out of business and hotels near popular fishing spots could close as well.
Todd Kalish however the Lake Michigan Basin Coordinator for the Michigan DNR, said he doesn't necessarily share the dim forecast. Kalish has worked closely with the group in the past but says he needs to have a lot more information before making a drastic change in management.
“In 2013 we cut chinook stocking by 50 percent statewide to help control the predator/prey ratio, and that was agreed upon by all of the entities,” Kalish said. “We also agreed that if any additional stockings were proposed we had to agree upon that.”