The 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 http://www.michigan.gov/dnrfishingwww.michigan.gov/dnrfishing.