By Mark Rotz and Dick Sternberg
PERM members deserve a big pat on the back for their role in restoring a degree of common sense to Mille Lacs Lake fisheries management. PERM is the only organization that waged an active campaign to change the management plan that was causing so much strife for anglers and business interests around the lake. There is no doubt that the DNR listened to PERM representatives and acted on many of the recommendations in the “Sternberg” report. Here are some of the most notable examples:
Higher SHL: The report concluded that the DNR was holding the walleye safe harvest level (SHL) to an unreasonably low level when compared to the historic harvest level and even to the retrospective findings of their own computer models. The DNR now agrees that this was the case and will be revising their SHL upwards. It appears likely that their new SHL will be very close to what the report was recommending. Without a higher
SHL, more liberal regulations would not have been possible.
Wider Slot: The report recommended a regulation that would reduce the focus on a narrow size range. The 17- to 28-inch protected slot is a step in the right direction.