LANSING, Mich. - The numbers of Chinook salmon will be greatly reduced in Lake Michigan. Natural resource officials in Michigan said today it would reduce its annual stocking of Chinook from almost one-point-seven-million to just 560,000.
The reduction will take effect next spring. The state of Michigan took action after the Lake Michigan Committee recommended last month that Great Lakes' states reduce the Chinook stocking by about half. That's because one of the salmon's biggest food sources, alewives, are at or near record lows in Lake Michigan. Chinook is a predator fish to others in the lake - and nature experts say it's dangerous to overstock the Great Lakes with them. They said it hurts the ecological balance, by threatening more vulnerable species in Lake Michigan.
Jay Wesley of the Michigan DNR said the committee's action is right in line with the stocking changes the state has made sporadically. Now, he says officials can make changes when they're needed - and Michigan will have more flexibility to manage the lake. The committee also said Wisconsin should consider stocking 440,000 fewer Chinook salmon each year. There's been no reported action on that matter.