MICRA’s Gamefish Committee was formed in 1998 in the interest of improving the interjurisdictional sport fisheries of the Basin. Almost immediately the committee became involved with the Catfish 2000 Symposium held in Davenport, IA on June 23-25 of that year. MICRA’s contribution was to hold a Workshop at the end of the symposium to gather information learned at the Symposium into a concise report that could form the basis for future catfish management. The Catfish 2000 Workshop Proceedings was published and distributed to participants in August 1998.
The Gamefish Committee used the Catfish 2000 Workshop Proceedings to begin work on two catfish projects:
- Evaluation of the interest and desirability of establishing trophy catfish fisheries in the Mississippi River Basin. Doug Stange of In-Fisherman magazine, described a trophy catfish fishery that currently exists on Manitoba’s Red River at the Catfish 2000 Symposium and Workshop, and presented a convincing argument to fishery managers of the potential for promoting such a fishery in the Mississippi River Basin. This work should be completed in by 2001.
- A second project involves creating an electronic, Basinwide catfish data base for fishery managers to post and utilize one another’s data.
Other Gamefish Committee projects include the following:
- Evaluation of the genetic makeup of Ohio River walleye and sauger populations. This project was completed in cooperation with the Ohio River Fish Management group in 2007. Downloaded the final report: Sauger Management Investigation.
- Assist in the development of a “dam removal” video. This project is being completed in cooperation with several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and is intended to describe and define the fishery problems related to dams and fish passage; and to create a plea for removal of old dams which are no longer economically justified or being used.
- Plan and schedule a national “large river habitat symposium” for 2002. Habitat loss is widely recognized as the most significant threat to the future well being of the Basin’s sport and commercial fisheries. The purpose of this symposium is to draw together the Nation’s top scientists, resource managers, and fishery administrators to come together in one forum to discuss habitat loss and potential rehabilitation measures, and then to formulate a strategy for subsequent development and implementation of a Basinwide habitat management strategy, including partnering and funding measures.