Growing up in Two Rivers in the 1940s, I had Lake Michigan as my playground. We went to the east-side pier with our cane poles to catch jumbo perch. By August, we would be fishing for northern pike, mostly with homemade lures. My sister won the contest for catching the biggest northern.
By the 1970s, we were in our Door County cottage, as we are to this day. Fifty perch were the daily limit. Catch-and-release northern fishing in late summer was incredible.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to everyone, policy makers were making a shambles of the Great Lakes ecosystem. In his book The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, Dan Egan observes, “Seaway ships have also been hauling something not listed on their manifest – not just species from ports all over the world that are inexorably unstitching a delicate ecological web more than 10,000 years in the making.”
With the invasion of zebra and quagga mussels, perch fishing collapsed. Recreation quotas to this day are 30 percent of what they were before. The food base for lake trout and salmon collapsed. Commercial fishing suffered mightily.
Unfortunately, history may now repeat itself. Asian carp are the next species ready to damage Lake Michigan and Green Bay. President Trump promised to address the problem. He has not. The bay of Green Bay walleye population is in the crosshairs of the Asian carp. Those who fish Lake Michigan and Green Bay can’t let that happen.
Vice President Joe Biden understands the issue and is committed to preventing history from repeating itself.
Peter A. Peshek
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin