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NFC: Re: articles
B iologists say they've mapped out a plan to restock two Great Lakes with
a species of fish thought to have died out more than 20 years ago.
Fisheries experts from the United States and Canada want to restore the
once-plentiful blue pike by isolating DNA from what they believe is a
rare specimen caught in 1989.
They hope to match the DNA to what are thought to be other scarce blue
pike still living in lakes in Minnesota and Canada, then reintroduce
positively identified fish into Lakes Erie and Ontario.
In what could prove to be the strangest breakthrough, DNA specialist Mary
Burnham-Curtis hopes to cull genes from mucus on blue pike scales filed
in envelopes half a century ago by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Blue pike flourished in Lake Erie at the turn of the century, becoming a
favorite of anglers until overfishing pushed them to the brink of
extinction in the 1970s.
Until now, scientists have had no way to positively determine whether a
blue-colored pike is a true blue pike or simply a blue-pigmented yellow
pike, said Dieter Busch, who heads the Lower Great Lakes Fishery
Resources Office in Amherst, N.Y.
He said the scientific world might have acted prematurely when it
declared the blue pike extinct in 1975, before DNA testing had been
His team must prove that blue pike still exist before it can proceed with
a restocking program.
The blue pike and yellow pike are both part of the perch family, but blue
pike prefer much deeper water -- 60 feet or more -- than yellow pike and
feed on different prey.
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