Here is an insider’s view of the DNR’s unwarranted bias for keeping a pure “Mille Lacs walleye” strain that’s held up restocking as a management tool. (And how much of requiring only Mille Lacs walleye eggs as a work-around is a driver for getting a $3.2 million hatchery at the lake?)
From Outdoor News Letters June 24, 2016
The adage, “What goes around comes around,” can certainly be applied to the recent, last-ditch effort by the DNR–that of stocking walleyes in Lake Mille Lacs.
The culture of anti-stocking of walleyes began in 1990, beginning with the no cross-watershed–“keep the walleye genome pure”–dogma. After 1990, the DNR’s anti-stocking culture and its “new stocking policy” unnecessarily left un-harvested walleyes to die in rearing ponds because I, as an employee, couldn’t exceed the stocking quota. To me, the DNR’s recent Mille Lacs stocking is laughable.
Except for his research staff, DNR Fisheries Chief Don Pereira should unplug the computers of his fish managers. Modeling fish populations in the office is fun, but not reality. The people of Minnesota own the fish, not the DNR. Therefore, fisheries specialists need to leave their world of virtual fish management and better engage the public on their turf–but not at choreographed public meetings.
The true mission of the DNR is: “We will work with the people of Minnesota to manage the state’s resources.” It is not: “We will manage the resources for the people of Minnesota.” As a result, we seem to have a public agency that already knows what’s right for us.
David G. Holmbeck
Editor’s note: Holmbeck is a former DNR employee.