Saturday, March 30, 2013

How’s the algae at Lake Erie?

Erie fishing looks good, but watch out for the algae

    By Jim Morris
People used to ask me, “How’s the fishing at Lake Erie?”
Not anymore.
Now they ask, “How’s the algae at Lake Erie?
“I have actually heard some people say they think the algae helps attract walleyes,” said Jeff Tyson, Lake Erie program administrator for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “We get mixed reactions, though. Other people don’t like pulling fish through the algae blooms.”
Tyson says scientists see the algae bloom tied to the weather.
“When we have a wet spring, March through June, and loading from the Maumee River (spreading of nutrients from runoff), we can expect algae bloom,” he said. “In 1911 we had record precipitation and that really brought on the algae bloom, but last year it was very dry and we had very little,” he said.
Unfortunately, all the snow and rain has made for wet conditions this spring.
As far as walleye fishing goes, anglers can expect another good year, because there are plenty of fish available from good hatches in 2007 and 2010. And the record hatch of 2003 is still contributing in a big way.
“We figured last year about 35 percent of the walleyes in the lake came from the 2003 class,” Tyson said.
Those 10-year-old fish are now monsters – 30 to 35 inches in length. That means plenty of folks will be catching big fish, more than big enough to earn a “Fish Ohio” pin.
The ’07 fish are 24 inches or more and the ’10 fish are 15 inches and up, making them legal keepers.
Yellow perch fishing is also expected to be good this year. But as it has been in recent years, the further east you go to fish, the larger and more plentiful the perch.
“The catch rate was up last year over 2011,” Tyson said. “It’s holding pretty steady at about 3.5 fish per person, per hour.
“But we’d like to see some better hatches in the Western Basin, There were actually some good hatches in the Central Basin last year and that’s where we’re seeing more stability.”
Although the walleye and perch fishing are considered very good, perhaps the most success in Lake Erie fish management has come with smallmouth bass.
“The catch rate for smallmouth bass in 2012 was the highest we’ve see in at least a decade,” Tyson observed. “It’s been trending up. We have had some good hatches.”
He said the closed season for keeping bass during May and June that was imposed several years ago seems to have improved the fishery.
Generally, the best bass fishing has been around the reefs and the islands, but now bass are showing up along the shore in the main lake – but they aren’t smallmouth. For years, largemouth bass have been caught in the rivers and around marinas and docks, but now they seem to be branching out.
“The University of Toledo has been conducting a near-shore assessment survey over the past two years. We’re seeing a lot of largemouth bass, so it’s a developing fishery and that’s kind of interesting,” Tyson said.
Quotas set: The Lake Erie quotas for yellow perch and walleye have been set. Ohio’s total allowable catch for walleyes is 1.715 million. Last year an estimated 920,000 were caught in Ohio waters. The perch quota is 4.8 million pounds. About 3.5 million pounds were caught in Ohio in 2012.
Tyson said those numbers indicate there will be no change in bag limits for either species this year. The walleye bag limit is four until May 1, then six until March 1, 2014. Perch limits remain as 30 lakewide.

How’s the algae at Lake Erie ?

Wrong questions lead to wrong answers.

The right question to ask is -
How are the Diatoms in Lake Erie ?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Icelandic volcano's ash led to more CO2 being absorbed by oceans

The Icelandic volcano's ash plume that caused huge air travel disruption across Europe in 2010 resulted in the oceans absorbing more carbon dioxide (CO2) than usual, say scientists.
Eyjafjallajökull volcano
They found that particles from the ash cloud that fell into the ocean provided microscope plants, called phytoplankton, with a nutrient boost in the form of iron. Phytoplankton are important as they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. In fact, while phytoplankton represent just two per cent of all plant matter on Earth, they account for half of all CO2 absorption from the atmosphere.
'This had never been done, no one has ever made any at-sea in-situ measurements during an eruption,' explains Professor Eric Achterberg, from the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, lead researcher on the study.
In the oceans south of Iceland there isn't usually enough iron for phytoplankton to bloom for more than a few weeks before it runs out. This latest study reveals that the volcanic ash column supplied enough iron that the phytoplankton were able to bloom for longer, and absorb more CO2 than they would typically have been able to.
'In normal years the iron levels are very low in the Iceland basin as the system runs out of this nutrient during the annual spring bloom. But in 2010 the iron supply was so high that demands were met. But then the phytoplankton stripped the nitrogen out of the surface waters so they became limited by that instead,' says Achterberg.
The research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, found even with the added iron from the volcano and the longer blooming period, the phytoplankton were only able to absorb about 15-20 per cent more CO2 than in other years before the nitrogen in the water ran out.