Two Minnesota commercial minnow dealers convicted
The commercial minnow licenses of two Baudette men have been
revoked for three years following an investigation by the Minnesota
John D. Hult, 69, and Kim D. Barsness, 55, convicted in Beltrami
County District Court on April 14 for the attempted illegal selling
of wild animals (minnows), also face fines and court costs of
$1,500 each. A six month jail sentence was stayed pending no
similar incidents, but both men were placed on two years probation.
Their equipment was forfeited to the state.
Prior to the 2009 fishing season, the men were reported to be
using invasive species infested equipment from Lake of the Woods to
take minnows from Upper Red Lake. To prevent the spread of invasive
species, such as spiny waterflea, to U.S. – Canada border waters,
the DNR has implemented regulations on Rainy Lake, Namakan Lake,
Rainy River and Lake of the Woods that prohibit the transport of
water, prohibit harvest of bait for personal use, and restrict the
commercial harvest of bait from those waters, similar to zebra
mussel-infested waters in Minnesota.
Commercial harvest of bait is still allowed at Lake of the Woods
and the Rainy River by licensed minnow dealers who have received
special training and permits.
Spiny waterfleas can disrupt the food chain by eating small
animals (zooplankton), including Daphnia, which are an important
food for native fishes. In some lakes, they caused the decline or
elimination of some species of native zooplankton, causing a
reduction of food for fish in the lake. They can be a nuisance and
foul fishing tackle by collecting on fishing line, eyelets of
fishing rods and downrigger equipment.
DNR staff is continuing prevention efforts for spiny waterfleas
by vigorously inspecting commercial minnow dealers in Minnesota to
ensure they’re complying with storage and sale standards and
possess the required licenses and permits for such operations.