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Tribes and state set 2004 Mille Lacs Lake harvest quotas (2004-01-27)


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From the DNR Website:

Tribes and state set 2004 Mille Lacs Lake harvest quotas (2004-01-27)

Tribes and state set 2004 Mille Lacs Lake harvest quotas (2004-01-27)
The 1837 Ceded Territory Fisheries Committee (CTFC), composed of tribal and state biologists, mutually agreed to a safe harvest level (harvestable surplus) of 480,000 pounds of walleye for Mille Lacs Lake for the 2004 fishing season.

This year's safe harvest level, agreed to at the Jan. 21 - 22 meeting in Brainerd, is the second highest since treaty management began in 1997.

The 2004 safe harvest level reflects poor survival of walleye fry and fingerlings during 2000 and 2001, when food sources were scarce in the lake. Those fish, currently 14 to 18 inches in length, represent the lake’s future spawning stock.

Based on the tribes' five-year management plan for Mille Lacs Lake, the 2004 tribal quota is 100,000 pounds of walleye, which will be allocated among the eight Ojibwe bands.

The state allocation is 380,000 pounds of walleye. Last year, state anglers took 67,000 pounds of their available quota.

"Unless conditions change drastically on the 132,000-acre lake, the lower safe harvest level will not affect state anglers," said Ron Payer, chief of the Minnesota DNR Section of Fisheries.

"It looks like conditions that caused last year's lower harvest will continue throughout the 2004 fishing season," Payer said. "In light of that, we will potentially liberalize our harvest regulation to provide the greatest angling opportunities while staying within the allocation."

Through consensus, the CTFC established the following safe harvest levels for 2004 for Mille Lacs Lake: 270,000 pounds for yellow perch; 23,000 pounds for northern pike; 24,000 pounds for tullibee; and 28,000 pounds for burbot.

"The 2004 quotas offer opportunities for sport and subsistence fishing alike, while also protecting the fishery," Payer added. "Calculations were based on the best biological data available for Mille Lacs."

Neil Kmiecik, Biological Services Director for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said, "Tribal and state fisheries biologists are dedicated to maintaining and refining a comprehensive and reliable database for shared treaty fishery lakes, and are committed to protecting a healthy and sustainable fishery and fish populations. The bottom line while setting harvest figures is to maintain a spawning stock biomass for each species that guarantees the ability of each species to reproduce."

Tribal and state fisheries managers continue to build a sound database for the shared treaty fishery in Minnesota. The cooperative tagging study of Mille Lacs Lake walleye will continue this spring. "This is a cooperative initiative aimed at providing comprehensive, current information on the Mille Lacs walleye population to use with other models and information as a basis for management decisions," Payer said.

Federal courts have ruled since 1994 that the state and the eight Ojibwe bands share fish and game in the 1837 treaty ceded territory.

To ensure the long-term health of the Lake Mille Lacs walleye fishery, the yearly walleye harvest has been managed so that it does not exceed the safe harvest level (harvestable surplus) as directed by the court order. The court left determination of harvestable surplus levels and other biological issues up to the CTFC.

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"state anglers took 67,000 pounds of their available quota."

I don't remember what the quota was but it was reduced due to the phenominal 02 fishing and the 67,000 this year was far less than half of the "safe harvest."

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what about all the good 8-10lbs fish that are released and end up on shore dead,they should not be allowed to even touch a big fish unless your going to mount it,dont even bring it out of the water just cut the line at boats edge!

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Scott, Derek, and I are attending the DNR meeting tomorrow night. After the meeting we'll know more about the slot. We can keep you posted.

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 fishing trips....

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It'd be great if you kept us posted. I'm interested in hearing more about the plans for next year.

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