Mass marking aids DNR in tracking fish. photo courtesy: M. Daniels, OMNR
Plainwell, Mich. (WZZM) - Fishing is a popular past-time here in west Michigan and contributes greatly to the billion dollar tourism industry... but there's a lot of work that goes in to maintaining that industry.
Jay Wesley, Fisheries Supervisor - Southern Lake Michigan Unit
"For Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, as well we had a invasive species called Alewives that came in in the 60s and Salmon were a way to address that invasive species. And now, it's become a great sport fishery. So, we're trying to maintain a forage base out there as well as maintain a multi-million dollar sport fishing industry."
So the DNR has developed a mass tagging program to monitor the millions of fish that are born in hatcheries every year.
A small chip, the size of a sliver is inserted into the snout of the fish. It is then released into the wild to live it's life out - until caught.
Once caught and reported to the DNR, the life and travels of the fish help to fine-tune a knowledge base about fish and their habits that was previously unattainable.
This new information helps with decisions on what locations work best for depositing new fish as well as environments that are particularly favorable for each species.
Ultimately, this investment means more wise spending in the future.