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Tuesday, January 30 • 9:40am - 10:00am
WALLEYE & PERCH: Alberta Walleye Lottery: The Success of an Obvious Solution to a Wicked Problem

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AUTHORS. Michael G. Sullivan, Alberta Environment and Parks

ABSTRACT. Fisheries managers in Alberta face a uniquely difficult problem; low fisheries productivity and high catches from heavy angling pressure and high catchability. Passive management using bag and size limits, and season closures was ineffective in mitigating increasing angler pressure. Widespread declines of walleye populations lead to infringement of indigenous fishing rights, declines in fiscal and social benefits of recreational fishing and the economic collapse of Alberta freshwater commercial fishery. Sustainable harvests, by definition, cannot exceed production, but implementing harvest controls faced entrenched, insurmountable cultural, social and political difficulties. The solution was two-fold; focus public attention by defining a conservation crisis with closures of fisheries, and upon population recovery, implement a radically new system of fisheries management. In effect, “let the fishing fleet rust” and then start afresh. The new system involves measuring walleye abundance using assessment netting, and quantifying sustainable allowable harvests on popular lakes. Lottery-style allocation of harvest tags occurs each March, prior to the popular summer sport fisheries. Currently, walleye lottery allocations occur on about 15 Alberta lakes annually, and attract nearly 35,000 anglers. Fishing quality is superb, with high catch rates and large fish, and is sustained near cities of a million people.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am

Attendees (6)