By IAN K. KULLGREN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Natural resources officials are reporting record-low numbers of salmon eggs gathered at state collection sites this year, evidence that could have implications for future fishing seasons. In Manistee County, just 2,700 chinook salmon returned to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) collection site on the Little Manistee River, down from a previous low of about 5,800 in 2010. The same is true in Traverse City, where 1,300 fish returned, a notable drop from the 1993 low of 2,300. DNR workers trap the salmon in weirs throughout the summer season, and then harvest their eggs in the fall to be bred at hatcheries across the state
The cause, wildlife officials say, stems from the perennial competition for food with invasive species in Lake Michigan. “It shines a light on how variable things are in the system,” said Edward Eisch, the DNR’s acting fish production manager.