Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Split perch bag could be in works for Erie

Sandusky, Ohio – Despite emergency efforts to prevent
sport-fishing overharvest of yellow perch in Lake Erie last year,
sport anglers still took more than their allowed quota, according
to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Anglers in the western basin, which stretches from Huron west to
Toledo, well exceeded their allocation of perch by about 200,000
pounds.

This was after the Division of Wildlife proposed and Gov. Ted
Strickland signed an order last spring that reduced the perch daily
bag limit from 40 to 30.

On the other hand, Ohio’s small commercial fishing fleet stayed
within its established quota.

In all, Ohio’s sport and commercial fishermen hauled about 1
million pounds of perch from the lake’s western basin. As a result,
the Division of Wildlife is again considering reducing the current
daily sport bag limit of 30 fish, possibly just for the western
basin.

In the central basin, which stretches from Vermilion east to
Ashtabula on the Ohio state line, the quota was an overall 4.1
million pounds for Ohio with commercial fishermen nearly taking
their quota of 1.9 million pounds. Sport anglers in the central
basin took 820,000 pounds with their allocation being 2.2 million
pounds.

Thus, the Division of Wildlife is considering shifting the
commercial harvest of Lake Erie yellow perch from the lake’s
western basin to its central basin.

“As we sit right now, we are over allocation in the western
basin only by about 20 percent,” said Roger Knight, the wildlife
division’s chief Lake Erie fisheries biologist.

Yet to be considered are new internationally set quotas from the
Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, which will come out in March,
Knight said.

However, initial projections indicate that the abundance of
perch in the lake’s western basin at least will be lower, Knight
also said. Consequently the wildlife division is considering
implementing two bag limits for Lake Erie yellow perch: A more
restrictive one for the western basin and a more liberal one for
the central, Knight said.

Such an imposition, if it happens, would impact most of the
prime summer and autumn Lake Erie yellow perch fishing months.

“There’s a lot happening, and we’re not only looking at a
reduced bag (for sport anglers) but doing something on the
commercial side, moving the harvest to where there is a healthy
quota,” Knight said.

“We are over the quota more than we’d like, even with the
reduction of the bag limit from 40 to 30. We don’t want to go over
(the quota) again,” Knight said.

The allocation formula Ohio’s uses is 35 percent for commercial
fishermen and 65 percent for sport fishermen under the new
management system authorized by Senate Bill 77.

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