Tuesday, July 24, 2007

'Ghost gill net' with rotten fish found in Lake Superior bay

I am sure that most of you who paddle or boat the Apostles have come across net sets in various parts of the archipelago. Some of them are marked with commercial type buoys with orange flags on top of them and others just have old Clorox bottles and 2.5 gallon plastic oil jugs marking each end of the net. Given the fragility of the fish population in our cold water sea, wouldn't you think that all groups fishing the lake might agree to put their ID on the nets they are using? Or maybe use floats that won't tear loose or sink in a big blow, like the one that occurred two weeks ago on Tuesday? That sure as hell is my opinion but read the article below and judge for yourself. What a waste of fish. This story appeared in the StarTribune via AP.

Last update: July 20, 2007 – 8:02 AM

ASHLAND, Wis. — A "ghost gill net" found in Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay gave state game managers the smelly job of disposing of the hundreds of dead and rotting lake trout and whitefish ensnared in it.

A boater tipped the DNR after discovering the net east of Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands chain and provided global positioning coordinates for the location.

A gill net has mesh openings that snare fish by the gills as they swim into it, and prevents them from backing out.

Steve Schram, fisheries team supervisor with the Department of Natural Resources, said the commercial fishing net in some 70 feet of water was 600 to 800 feet long and had no markings to identify the owner.

"You just can't imagine the smell. It's absolutely horrible," said Schram.

"You've got to wear gloves and make sure it doesn't get anywhere in the boat or even on your skin, because once that smell is there, you never get rid of it."

DNR research technician Scott Hulse was on the boat with Schram when they went to retrieve the net Monday.

For the past few years the state's commercial fishery program has required gill nets to have identification numbers, Hulse said. The DNR has urged that the Bad River and Red Cliff Chippewa tribes require the same, but that hasn't happened so far, he said.


Joshua said...

That's a shame - Teddy Roosevelt once said that Lake Superior was the best place in the country to fish for lake trout, but that has since changed. A big waste of fish, and a big waste of money, too.

DaveO said...

That would be my take. If people would only be marginally responsible the world would be a much better place.
Sounds like you had a good time at Interstate.

Joshua said...

Yes, I did. Craig and I were trying to find a way to make it up to the Two Harbors festival, but it looks like a no-go for now.

DaveO said...

Its a good event, lower key than most of the others. If you pull it off we are planning a north shore day paddle Sunday, maybe Palisade Head, Split Rock, Tettegouche, etc.