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Old 11-30-2011, 12:39 PM
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Default In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

I am interested in hearing any comments on this article you may have, but it is the philosophical responses that I would be most interested in!
If you find this of interest or have the time to comment please do!
Thanks

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/us...pagewanted=all

In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another By: Kirk Johnson

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — The first “Judas fish” have been released.

As the Biblically inspired name suggests, the fish — surgically altered lake trout, implanted last week with tiny radio transmitters on a gently rocking open boat by a team of scientists here — are intended to betray. The goal: annihilation.

“Finding where they spawn would be the golden egg,” said Bob Gresswell, a research biologist at the United States Geological Survey, and leader of the Judas team, a strike force in the biggest lake-trout-killing program in the nation. The idea is that the electronic chirps will lead trout hunters into the cold, deep corners of Yellowstone Lake, where the fish might be killed in volume. “The eggs could be killed before they hatch, maybe with electricity, or suction,” Dr. Gresswell said.

That millions of dollars would be spent to eradicate a fish that many people love, and love to eat, is only the beginning of a paradoxical new chapter for trout, long a silvery symbol of America’s wide-open spaces.

States in the Great Lakes region, by contrast, where lake trout are a native species, dream of rebuilding the stocks that were overfished, and only about 100 miles south of here, Wyoming state wildlife officials are in fact still breeding lake trout in a hatchery and happily releasing them into local waters.

Motivation is where it starts, since the goal here in Yellowstone is not the killing itself, but rather the saving of another trout species entirely, the cutthroat, which grizzly bears, egrets, eagles and martens, among others, depend upon for food. Lake trout, which park officials believe were introduced by fishermen a few decades ago, gobble up the cutthroats (named for the slash of red under their jaws). And lake trout, unlike the cuts, as they are called, hide in the deep and do not venture into streams and tributaries to spawn, where bears and other animals can catch and eat them.

So death to the lake trout is the rallying cry. And come death does, to hundreds of thousands of fish in recent years, through an entanglement of gill nets, or a quick slice of the fillet knife and now, through the Judas fish program, at the scientific frontier.

Americans have tried in varying ways to manage fish and nature. Back in the late 1800s, for example, industrialization and settlement were wiping out many species, and a politically powerful new constituency of recreational fishermen, many of whom patterned themselves after leisure-class titans like the steel baron Andrew Carnegie (whose treasured rod and reel were handed down to his heirs), arose in force to demand that streams and lakes be teeming with fish, and especially trout.

But hands-on management in the name of wildness itself rather than human appetite or aesthetics — the core distinction of what is happening here — is a change in how people relate to nature in set-apart corners of the world like Yellowstone.

The theme is echoed elsewhere, in worries over the Asian carp or sea lamprey in the Great Lakes, or even the rainbow trout, a species native to the Pacific coast, which was spread all over the world by hatcheries, especially after World War II and often to the detriment of native fish.

The decline of recreational fishing in the United States since its peak in the late 1970s is adding its own twist, scientists, environmentalists and anglers say. Between 1991 and 2006, according to the most recent figures from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the percentage of Americans 16 and older who fish declined to 13 percent from 21 percent.

At the same time, the environmental movement, which in its earlier years was closely aligned with the hunting and fishing communities, became more urban and less connected to the idea that nature should be harvested or consumed.

Here at Yellowstone, that has led to a coalition of partners standing shoulder to shoulder for killing the lake trout, of which visitors are of course encouraged to catch and eat as much as they like, on behalf of a protected fish, the cutthroat, that is strictly catch and release. Eco-system watchdog groups like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and the national clean-waters angler group, Trout Unlimited, for example, are raising money to help Yellowstone kill its lake trout.

“The whole population is more urban, and urban folks tend to be more mutualist — looking at humans and animals coexisting, as opposed to animals being there for utilitarian use,” said Steve L. McMullin, an associate professor in the department of fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Va., who studies fishing demographics.

Some people remain doubtful that what is happening here can succeed, or be controlled. Ecosystems are too complex, they say, and since even the most ardent trout hunters concede that lake trout reduction in perpetuity will probably be necessary, questions swirl about the long-term balance of nature, and whether a system can really be called natural at all if humans must remain at the helm to make it work.

“We may think we know what we’re doing, but the outcomes are going to be unpredictable no matter what,” said Anders Halverson, an aquatic ecologist and the author of a recent book, “An Entirely Synthetic Fish,” about how the rainbow trout took over waters all around the world through deliberate stocking.

The superintendent at Yellowstone National Park, Daniel N. Wenk, says he thinks the park has no choice but to fight for the cutthroats, which he described as the keystone species for a mostly still-wild ecosystem.

“What we’re trying to do is restore the opportunity for nature to literally do its thing,” Mr. Wenk said in an interview in his office at the park headquarters. “That’s different than trying to impose something on a system.”

On the dock, some people lament the waste, with tons of desirable protein being killed and sinking back to the lake bottom to decay. Park managers said, though, that distributing trout fillets for food, in a remote place like Yellowstone, would raise costs and legal liability concerns, and thus reduce resources for the cutthroats.

Some lake trout fishermen, meanwhile, even those who support the return of the cutthroats, are scratching their heads.

“Lake trout are better eating, and we fish for the eating,” said Que Mangus, a real-estate appraiser in Cody, Wyo., who came in off the lake on a recent afternoon in his small boat, having caught no fish at all.

The Judas fish, meanwhile, are still roaming wild and deep, at least for now. The first tracking buoys are scheduled for deployment this week, at which time the chirping flow of data from the lake bottom, and the hunt, will intensify
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Just my opinion, but I feel all efforts should be made to sustain and promote NATIVE fisheries above anything else when it comes to fisheries management.

If that means killing off an introduced species in order to achieve this, well just part of the process and absolutely nothing wrong with it in my opinion...
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Its a double edged sword. In the East alot of rivers and streams were severely damaged due to deforrestation, industrailization, and aggricultural run-off so the the native brookies couldn't survive. So Browns and Rainbows were and are stocked. But now alot of those streams are on the rebound and the stockers compete with the natives making it harder for them to make their comeback. Then again without the stockers their would be no one on the water taking interest in these streams. Out west the brookies and lake trout compete and prey upon the native cuttys so I definitely agree. However so do browns and browns aren't native to the US and I can't imagine trout fishing without them. So its a fine line I guess but the natives should come first.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

There's been programs to reclaim brook trout ponds in northern New England and the Adirondacks since the '30s
Here's a fairly recent article about restoring the rare blue back trout. (arctic char)

DIF&W stocks 600 blueback trout in reclaimed pond — Maine Outdoors — Bangor Daily News
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Virtually anyone who has seen the devastation to the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout fishery caused by lake trout, would not hesitate to remove all lake trout. It is more than fly fishers wanting to fish for the cutts. Native species like grizzly and brown bear, otter, eagles, and osprey feed on the cutts. So the crash of the cutts affects the other animals that rely on them for food.

It used to be that one could see many cutts from Fishing Bridge. Now there are none to be seen.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Unfortunately this has been a problem for several year in Yellowstone Lake and has only become worse with time. They have declared a no-limit, must-kill on all lake trout caught in the lake, but the populations continue to increase. This is truly a sad result of what they most likely attribute to one or more "bucket biologists" who took it upon themselves to plant their favorite game fish in the lake without any thought to the catastrophic results such a selfish decision would have. This is a case where total eradication of non-native lake trout is warranted in order to not only save a native species, but to restore the entire ecosystem. Also a good example to show the codependency of an ecosystem.

There are strong feelings on both sides of this, this is mine. I don't think we need to debate the point, but you asked for feedback. The challenge with asking for "philosophical" opinions is that they will be as varied as the number of people who respond. What's happening in Yellowstone is a bad situation that threatens not only a native fish population but all life dependent upon it.

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Everyone will have an opinion.

In my view the most valid opinions ar those who have see the before and after. It is sad that the young visitors to Yeloowstone will NEVER see a native cutthroat swimming around Fishing Cone at the West Thumb Geyser Basin as my children did.

Once I told them the history of Fishing Cone they were spellbound, hoping that the trout would somehow jump into the cone by itself and we could have dinner. When it didn't, they wanted me to catch a trout so they could come back and cook it in the cone. Those are memories that likely will never be repeated.

"Fishing Cone is a thermal feature unique to Yellowstone. It is situated on the shore of Yellowstone Lake and received its name from early explorers who stood on the cone and cast their lines into the lake to catch fish. Without taking the fish off the hook they parboiled them in the vent of Fishing Cone."
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Last I heard no one knows how they were introduced.
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisi...ad/YS14(2).pdf
Next, I agree with the others. Get rid of them before it's too late.
I also think it's a little funny that the article mentions a few mac fans that want them left alone. Better eating? Not in the least. Plus there's other lakes in the area that have lake trout.
Eradicate them from YL.
One more note- these fish can live as long as 20 years.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Probably illegally introduced by bucket biologists, possibly even some of those mack fans. I agree with mojo, put a bounty on 'em. milt.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: In Yellowstone, Killing One Kind of Trout to Save Another

Not to say that I dont agree with most of you on some level but at the same time i find it hard in my mind to justify killing an entire species at one location. Just does not seam right. I understand that they are destroying the cut population but its just in their nature to survive in that way. The real blame is on whoever introduced them to YL. Its a real shame that some people just dont understand how big of a balancing act a ecosystem really is and what kind of damage introducing a foreign species can really do.
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