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Monday, January 29 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
WALLEYE: Walleye Management in the Red Lakes, Minnesota: Collapse, Recovery, and Cooperative Management

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AUTHORS. Anthony J. Kennedy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Gary C. Barnard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; William P. Brown, Red Lake Department of Natural Resources; Donald L. Pereira, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. Fisheries management jurisdiction of the Red Lakes is split between the State of Minnesota and Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.  Historically, the Red Lakes supported productive commercial and recreational Walleye fisheries before crashing in the 1990s after decades of overharvest.  In the late 1990s, these entities began an inter-agency effort to develop a recovery plan to restore the Walleye population that included a complete walleye fishing moratorium with strict enforcement and a short-term fry stocking program.  Considerable effort was directed at public involvement throughout the planning and implementation process.  Public support was essential for effective implementation of restrictive fishing regulations necessary to expedite recovery and resume harvests.  The combination of recovery stockings and a seven-year Walleye fishing moratorium in both jurisdictions was successful, and the Walleye population recovered sufficiently to resume Walleye harvest in 2006.  Walleye harvest was guided by the jointly-prepared Harvest Plan for Red Lakes Walleye Stocks that took a conservative approach to harvest management while the population reached full recovery.  The Walleye population reached full recovery thresholds in 2009, and the Harvest Plan was revised in 2015 to allow increased harvest after observing negative density dependent effects on growth and recruitment.  Current management focuses on the active management of spawning stock biomass (SSB) for the optimal condition as defined by the Harvest Plan (2.5 - 4.5 lbs/acre).  This approach strives to manage SSB such that wild fry production falls within the optimal range of a density dependent stock-recruitment relationship to maximize the likelihood of producing strong year classes to support harvest levels commensurate with the potential productivity of the system.  The collapse of the Red Lakes’ walleye fisheries was catastrophic, but provided an incredible opportunity to increase our understanding of walleye population dynamics and fisheries management. 

Monday January 29, 2018 4:00pm - 4:20pm
103D

Attendees (8)