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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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Monday, January 28 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
(SYMPOSIA-01) Data-Driven Harvest Regulations in Minnesota: Approaches, Priorities, and Northern Pike

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AUTHORS: Shannon J. Fisher, Allen G. Stevens, Bethany J. Bethke – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) maintains fisheries management plans on more than 4,400 lakes.  To keep plans current, inform harvest regulation development, and keep pace with changing lake conditions, >650 lake surveys are completed annually.  Minnesota’s lake survey program began over 70 years ago, with the modern program established in 1993.  Survey data have informed management decisions locally and statewide.  The evolution of Northern Pike management is a key example of how Minnesota has utilized this valuable database.  During the 1980s, increasing numbers of anglers and fisheries managers became concerned about long-term declines in Northern Pike sizes.  As a result, MNDNR experimented with length-based regulations.  Using pre- and post-regulation lake survey data (1970s-early 2000s) evidence was found that length limits could improve size structure – but not uniformly across lakes.  Therefore, a limited suite of “Toolbox” regulations for lake-specific management was developed.  Pre- and post-Toolbox regulation survey data were used to perform a meta-analysis (>50 lakes) that indicated >10 years of post-data were needed to detect size structure improvements across a range of lakes.  In 2016, we strategized to improve Northern Pike management across Minnesota and three starkly different sets of spatially clustered objectives emerged.  In 2018, lakes meeting regulatory and biological criteria were divided into three zones with different length and bag limits.  Our standardized lake survey program was integral in identifying lakes included in the evaluation and will provide the necessary post-regulation data.  Given valuable lessons learned in early analyses, we know that it will take time to detect results.  Similar evaluations have proven extremely useful in the development of regulations to better manage other recreationally important species in Minnesota, including Walleye Sanders vitreus, Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, and Muskellunge Esox masquinongy. 

Monday January 28, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm
HOPE BALLROOM A

Attendees (20)