CHOCOLAY TOWNSHIP — The Lake Michigan Committee recently decided to shrink the stocking of certain types of predator fish an effort to reduce pressure on the ailwife population.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Marquette State Fish Hatchery in Chocolay Township is one of the operations that raises fish stock, including lake trout, which along with Chinook salmon, is a variety that the Committee is trying to get back into balance with its prey.
“We don’t raise any Chinook salmon here, so it doesn’t affect us as far as Chinook goes,” said Troy Zorn, a Marine Biologist for the Michigan DNR. “I think they stock about 50,000 lake trout into southern Lake Michigan, and that plant may be eliminated or moved elsewhere, so there would be less production here of lake trout potentially.”
Lake trout stocking throughout Lake Michigan will be reduced to 2.74 million in 2017, which is a twelve percent reduction over the current number. That number will again drop in 2018 to just over 2.5 million. Proponents of the changes believe that the reduction of predator plants combined with growing natural reproduction of Chinook in Lake Michigan will support diverse and sustainable fishing opportunities.