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Bow Watch: Addressing the "Fish Grant" Myth

Carl Richards - headshot

In mid-May Minnesota's Governor Tim Pawlenty will be on Lake of the Woods trying to land Minnesota's state fish, the walleye. He'll be helping the 2.3 million anglers who fish in Minnesota celebrate the 56th annual Governor's Fishing Opener and the start of the next fishing season.

Meanwhile, fish farmers will be hard at work raising walleye fry, walleye bait, and other species. Fisheries professionals will be weighing public input and ecological issues to make management decisions. In this edition of the Seiche, you'll see that Minnesota Sea Grant strives to assist fisheries interests at multiple levels, from bait farmer, to angler, to fisheries mangers.

A couple of decades ago, the National Sea Grant Network was known in some circles as "Fish Grant" due to the preponderance of research and outreach projects related to fish. Fish are certainly an important topic in our society and sustain considerable economic and recreational interest. They also play an important role in complex food webs and ecosystems of our nearshore and offshore waters.

Nonetheless, as Sea Grantís mission has evolved both nationally and in our own region, many Sea Grant-watchers (including myself) have been pleased to see the organization adopt a more holistic vision of the nationís coastlines, offshore ecosystems, and the human and environmental issues that challenge their management.

Our own research program funds projects as diverse as the identification of bacteria in watersheds, the dynamics of physical processes in Lake Superior, and the development of new tools in biotechnology. Our outreach program is just as diverse, covering a full spectrum of programs influencing the ecosystems and economies of Lake Superior and the region.

However, fish are fascinating creatures and are still important to our program. Species like the coaster brook trout inspire us to remember our coastal heritage and focus on the connection between North Shore streams and Lake Superior. Issues like the impact of swelling numbers of double-crested cormorants and American white pelicans on fish production operations prompt us to evaluate aquaculture practices, the habits of fish-eating birds, and ways for these birds, fish, and humans to coexist.

We want to make sure the latest and best fish-related science gets into the hands of fisheries managers and future fisheries professionals. We also want to make sure you have access to interesting and relevant information about our endeavors. In that light, this issue of the Seiche highlights several of our fish-related projects.

Hope to see you out on the lakes after ice-out.

Carl Richards' signature

Carl Richards

Minnesota Sea Grant Director

By Carl Richards
February 2004

Return to February 2004 Seiche

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