Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DNR investigating sturgeon and paddlefish deaths on Lake Pepin

Departments of Natural Resources in both Minnesota and Wisconsin have temporarily halted some commercial fishing operations on Lake Pepin following the discovery of nearly four dozen dead paddlefish and lake sturgeon.


Following reports from the public, fisheries biologists from both agencies found 22 recently dead paddlefish and 24 lake sturgeon in a relatively small area of Lake Pepin where commercial gillnetting has been taking place. Some of the dead fish had marks consistent with being caught in gillnets. 


In response to the findings, DNRs from both states have notified commercial fishing operations to suspend gillnetting on Lake Pepin until further notice, Temporary closure of the gillnet fishery on Pepin will allow fisheries biologists time to better investigate the fish mortality, while preventing further impacts. 


Six commercial fishing operators are licensed to harvest rough fish from Lake Pepin using gillnets or seines. Other species caught incidentally must be released back into the water. Sturgeon and paddlefish, however, can be susceptible to mortality if incidentally caught in the nets at this time of year, because warmer water temperatures reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen available.

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