The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has announced upcoming changes to fish stocking in Lake Michigan.
Stocking is a process during which fish are introduced to a body of water in order to perfect the predator-prey balance, replenish endangered populations or increase the number of fish for commercial and recreational fishing. Oftentimes, these fish are non-native species that must be monitored in order to protect biodiversity.
The interim DNR plan is based on a recommendation from the Lake Michigan Committee to increase stocking levels in response to the lake’s recently improved predator-prey balance.
In 2017, DNR managers reduced the number of Chinook salmon stockings and eliminated lake trout stockings from Indiana waters. In 2020, approximately 87,000 more Chinook salmon equivalents will be added to Indiana’s stocking quota, recovering more than half of the cuts made in 2017.
The DNR plans to increase stocking by 150,000 total fish in 2020, which will be made possible by the increased quotas, as well as reductions in stockings of other fish species, such as steelhead and coho salmon.
“The new plan gets us back to stocking Chinooks annually at all three of our ports,” said Ben Dickinson, DNR biologist for Lake Michigan. “When we cut Chinook stocking in 2017, we promised our anglers that we’d try our best to get back to three ports annually. Today we are pleased to deliver on that promise.”
Officials plan to host public meetings this winter in order to hear questions or concerns from Indiana residents.