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NFC: Fw: [bluepike] my reasearch on the existance of the Blue Pike
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "novegon" <novegon at hotmail_com>
To: bluepike at yahoogroups_com
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2001 06:48:47 -0000
Subject: [bluepike] my reasearch on the existance of the Blue Pike
Message-ID: <9verof+6oo2 at egroups_com>
My name is Timothy Moore and I now once again live on the shores of
Lake Erie here in Ohio. My family has always lived on the shores of
Lake Erie and my Great-grandfather and his father before him were
commercial fishermen. Stories have been told in my family for
generations of the magnificant catches of Blue Pike taken through the
early parts of the 20th century. So....I did a little research on the
web and what I found is of little consolation.
I found a Naturalists article that said to wit:
Stizostedion vitreum glaucum (Hubbs, 1926)
Significance: The blue pike was an important commercial species of
Lake Erie where annual catches frequently exceeded 20 million pounds.
In 1955 the catch was 19.7 million pounds before its decline and near
disappearance. It was also prominent in the commercial fishery in
Lake Ontario but the annual catch never exceeded 500,000 pounds.
Distinguishing characteristics: Pelvic fins whitish blue and body
bluish gray. Otherwise much like the yellow pike or walleye but with
the eyes larger and closer together and without brassy or yellow
Present distribution: Very uncommon in deeper and cooler areas of
Lake Erie and possibly Lake Ontario.
Former distribution: Same.
Status:Endangered. Although a few hundred pounds of blue pike have
been listed in catches of commercial fishermen in recent years,
biologists have found that these were mostly small yellow pike.
Estimated numbers: Very few or possibly extinct.
Fecundity: Spawned in moderately deep areas in early summer.
Reasons for decline:Physical, chemical and biological environment in
Lakes Erie and Ontario have deteriorated measurably in the past 20
years, creating conditions that seem to be unfavorable for survival
of eggs and young. Severe oxygen depletion in central Lake Erie
shortly after the spawning period is an obvious contributing factor.
Protective measures already taken: In 1969, a pair of Lake Erie
Stizostedion, believed to be blue pike, were spawned at the
Pennsylvania Fish Commission's Linesville Fish Culture Station. About
9,000 of the fry were transferred to Gavins Point National Fish
Hatchery at Yankton, South Dakota. Some of the fingerlings were
stocked in an isolated lake in northern Minnesota.
Measures proposed:Additional spawning stock should be obtained for
Number in captivity:None.
Culture potential in captivity: Good.
Remarks: Data submitted by Dr. Stanford H. Smith, National Marine
Fisheries Service, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Region 3, U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Twin Cities, Minnesota.
Hubbs, C. L. and K. F. Lagler. 1964. Fishes of the Great Lakes
University of Michigan Press, 213 pp.
Trautman, M. B. 1957. The fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University
Parsons, John W. 1967. Contributions of year-classes of blue pike to
the commercial fishery of Lake Erie, 1943-59. J. Fish. Res. Bd.
OK....please note the paragraph titled "Protective Measures Already
Following up on this, doing more research and writing a lot of
e-mail to various people in the National Fish and Wildlife service I
finally received the following e-mail reply:
Herb passed on your e-mail enquiring about blue pike.
Many of the oldhatchery records are pathetic. I did review several
years worth of annual reports and no mention of blue pike.
I've been at this facility since 1991 and had the priveledge of
working with Clair Sudbeck, a 30 year fixture(Biological Technician)
here at Gavins Point.
I called Clair before I began digging through old records in search
of information that I had not come across in the past.
Clair mentioned that at least two years and possibly three years
Gavins Point Hatchery crew members traveled to Pennsylvania to
these fish in cooperation with the Linesville SFH staff.
The fish were cultured in ponds in the same manner as our
These fish were raised to approximately 11-12 inches
and thenresearchers lethally sub-sampled the fish.
All information that Clair provided me over the phone was that the
fish appeared to be identical towalleye.
They felt the bluish coloration may be related to the
waters that they were collected from??????
Any fish that were not sampled for comparison were disposed of
rather than stocked out.
That's all the information that I have. I hope this answers your
Please, once again, note some of the following lines:
"Clair mentioned that at least two years and possibly three years
that Gavins Point Hatchery crew members traveled to Pennsylvania to
collect these fish in cooperation with the Linesville SFH"
"These fish were raised to approximately 11-12 inches and then
researchers lethally sub-sampled the fish."
"...the fish appeared to be identical to walleye. They felt the
bluish coloration may be related to the waters that they were
(I think the 5 question marks at the end of this line speaks tacit
volumes about the authors opinion of the biological research methods
used in this case T.M.)
"Any fish that were not sampled for comparison were disposed of
rather than stocked out."
So, They probably destroyed the last viable population of the Lake
Erie Blue Pike in a government research and fish hatchery site.
My anger at the sloppy biological reasearch work is over shadowed
only by the fact that I have personally shed bitter tears at the now
more than probable extintion (at hands of those who should have known
better)of such a legendary species as the late, great, Lake Erie Blue
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