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NFC: Blue Pike Page info....

 Last week 

Week of January 26, 1998 --->  

 Annual Meeting 

Any angler who has one in possession, dead or alive, could solve the
mystery by contacting the Fish and Wildlife Service at (716) 691-5496. 

If you happen to have a taxidermy mount of a blue pike in your attic,
please dig it up and give the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a call. Its
scientists would like to take some DNA samples in an effort to save an
extinct species.

Blue pike is a sub-species of the walleye., it was pursued intensely by
commercial and sport fishers, who together landed a billion pounds of the
fish between 1885 and 1962. At times, the blue pike made up more than 50
percent of the commercial catch in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. 

The population crashed in 1958, but the species lingered on until it was
officially declared extinct in 1975. 

In 1996, the Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Lakes Fishery Resources
Office in Buffalo suggested the blue pike's obituary may have been
written prematurely. 

Canadian anglers had sent federal researchers two specimens, which,
superficially at least, resembled blue pike. One was a whole fish that
had been kept in a freezer for 25 years. It was said to have been caught
in the province of Ontario. The other was the head and skeleton of a fish
caught in a Quebec lake nine years ago. 

Federal scientists took DNA samples from both specimens, hoping the
genetic material could be identified as that of a blue pike. Such a
discovery would justify a renewed search for the species in Canadian
lakes where it was not previously known to exist. 

According to an Associated press report , Betsy Trometer, a fishery
biologist with the Great Lakes unit, said all of the DNA scrapings from
the frozen fish "either exactly matched walleye DNA or were so close to
it that we can't conclusively say there's a difference." 

For more information on The Endangered Species Act or other articles
about Blue Pike and DNA 
   Why are Blue Pike extinct?

The failure to identify blue pike DNA that could be traced to a Canadian
lake doesn't necessarily mean the species is gone for good. Rather, it
means more genetic evidence is needed to resolve the case one way or the
"At this point, we're focusing our attention on getting historic samples
of blue pike DNA," Trometer said and such samples are in short supply. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service has a few bits of mucus from scales that
biologists scraped from Lake Erie blue pike from the 1920s to the 1950s.
However, Trometer said those samples are probably of limited value
because they were stored in paper envelopes for decades and are therefore
apt to be contaminated. The feds also obtained some DNA from a
1950s-vintage taxidermy mount of a blue pike. 

They want to compare the DNA from the known blue pike specimens to that
of modern-day walleyes. Then they'll be better able to identify any
suspect fish turned in by anglers in the future. 

Because the two species bare a strong resemblance to one another, even
the most experienced eye could not always make a positive visual

Blue pike were named for their distinct blue-gray cast, but walleyes in
some waters also have a slight bluish tint. 

Biologists used to tell the two apart by measuring their eyes. Blue pike
had bigger eyes in proportion to their skulls, and their orbs were set
farther apart than those of walleyes. 

Does the blue pike persist in some remote, overlooked fishing hole? 

Any angler who has one in possession, dead or alive, could solve the
mystery by contacting the Fish and Wildlife Service at (716) 691-5496. 

 Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council turns 25 

A scheduled shipment of 180,000 lake trout from the Federal hatchery in
Iron River Wisconsin won't be accepted by the Minnesota DNR because of a
trout bacterial disease.

The Minnesota DNR was to have received 180,000 Isle Royal lake trout from
the Iron River National Fish Hatchery for stocking in Lake Superior this
spring. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed last month that
lake trout at the hatchery had enteric redmouth, a disease that can
affect trout and salmon but poses no health risk to humans.

Enteric redmouth disease (ERM) is a systemic bacterial infection of
fishes, but is known principally for its occurrence in rainbow trout. It
was first reported in the 1950's in Idaho rainbow trout. 
The disease can spread from fish to fish by direct contact with infected
fish or carriers. Vertical transmission has not been demonstrated and
probably does not occur. Stressors have been shown to play a significant
role in triggering ERM outbreaks. 

The Minnesota DNR plans to stock Lake Superior with 180,000 lake trout
from it's own hatchery. 

 ANS Task Force Forms Fishing & Boating Committee -GLSFC, BASS and Trout
Unlimited to represent fishing. 

USFWS Press Releases Gene Bucks Fisheries SummariesSea Grant News 




You may also e-mail Dan Thomas at glsfc at netwave_net 

All contents Copyright  1996/97,GLSFC All Rights Reserved. 


Robert Rice
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