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Great Lakes Article:

Committee agrees to yellow perch cut

By John Dipko
Green Bay Press
January 17, 2002

MADISON — An influential state legislative committee on Thursday approved a permanent cut in the amount of yellow perch that can be harvested in the bay of Green Bay.

The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted 10-0 to make permanent a temporary rule that cut from 25 to 10 the daily bag limit for recreational anglers and from 200,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds the amount allowed annually for commercial harvesting.

The rule took effect July 1 following studies showing poor perch reproduction, far below good years in the early 1980s.

Green Bay commercial fisherman Mark Maricque said he and other fishermen question the DNR’s yellow perch data-gathering and hope upcoming DNR-funded workshops will help air out issues affecting the fish population.

Maricque said he believes exotic fish such as white perch and carp and cormorants are having an impact.

“All you can do is try and make it through the next couple of years,” he said.

“I’m not going to quit. It’s like a family farm. You’ve got too much invested to just quit.”

The last year of good natural reproduction was 1998, the state Department of Natural Resources reported.

“Perch fishing has crashed,” said state Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Allouez, a committee member. “Limiting the amount to 20,000 pounds on the commercial side is hopefully a way to come up with a sustainable situation. We don’t know if that will be enough.”

The state Natural Resources Board already endorsed the permanent limits.

Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, also a committee member, called the permanent reduction understandable.

“They’re trying to stabilize things so they can find out what the problem is,” Hansen said.

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