MI DNRE Returning Walleye Fry Production to Historic Levels

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment has
begun gearing up to return hatchery production of walleyes to
historic levels.

The DNRE plans to take some 50 million eggs this spring to
produce fry for pond-rearing and direct stocking, an eight-fold
increase over the last two years.

Since 2006, the DNRE has cut back on most of its walleye rearing
activities because of the presence of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
(VHS) in the brood-stock waters. Now, after several years of
testing, a technique has been found to disinfect walleye eggs and
prevent spreading VHS. As a result, the DNRE will now resume
large-scale rearing and stocking of walleyes.

“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have cut our walleye fry
production,” DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries said. “But the specter
of bringing VHS into our hatchery system or transferring VHS to new
waters was just too risky. The ecosystem is constantly changing and
our management practices must change with it. We are pleased that
an effective treatment for walleye eggs against VHS has been found
and we’re ramping up our production accordingly.”

The DNRE expects it to take two years to return to full
production of walleye fry. A number of the rearing ponds, which
have been idled for the last several years, are in need of
maintenance before they can be brought back on line for
production.

Nonetheless, the DNRE expects to produce at least 80 percent of
the total capacity for walleye fry in 2011 and be back to full
production in 2012. For more information, visit
www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 

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