Yellow Perch Bag Limit Reduced For Lake Erie’s Western Basin

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Yellow Perch Bag Limit Reduced For Lake Erie's Western BasinTwenty-five fish daily limit takes effect July 1 in waters west of Huron

COLUMBUS, OH – Lake Erie anglers fishing in Ohio waters west of Huron are reminded that the 30-fish daily bag limit for yellow perch is reduced to 25 fish, effective July 1.

The reduction, approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council in March, is in response to declining yellow perch stocks in western Lake Erie, generally attributed to poor spawning. The daily bag limit will remain at 30 fish per angler from the Huron pier eastward, where perch stocks are more plentiful.

The wildlife council’s action followed a March announcement by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, that the lakewide 2008 total allowable catch (TAC) of yellow perch would be 10.16 million pounds, including 1.4 million pounds in the Western Basin.

The TAC represents the amount of fish that can be caught without putting stocks at risk. This year’s western basin TAC is well below the average of 2.7 million pounds allowed over the past decade and is the lowest since 1996.

Fishery managers from the five states and provinces surrounding Lake Erie agree on the annual TAC, using an area-based sharing formula to determine the allocation of fish among the jurisdictions. Ohio’s 2008 allocation or “quota” for yellow perch totals 4.388 million pounds from three perch stocks in Lake Erie, but only 708,000 pounds is available in the Western Basin.

“In 2007, Ohio’s sport fishermen caught more than 781,000 pounds and the commercial fishery more than 200,000 pounds of perch in the western basin,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries administrator with ODNR. “That was more than we anticipated from the sport fishery and it pushed us over our quota in the Western Basin by about 18 percent.”

To remain within the Ohio Western Basin quota for 2008 and protect the declining perch stock there, ODNR is allocating commercial quota only in the Central Basin, and reducing the sport bag limit in the western basin. Knight noted that ODNR intends to restore the daily bag limit to 30 fish lakewide as soon as stocks recover in the Western Basin.