Barbs and Backlashes

“Blinded me with science”, July 28, 2010 by whitetips
July 28, 2010, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags:

I gave you a fishing report for my little trip last week,’ve-been-july-26-2010/ but I did not tell you why I was out in that part of our great state.

The reason for the trip was a meeting of our fisheries research section in O’Neill.  Why meet in O’Neill?  Well, much of the fisheries research that is being done in Nebraska is accomplished by contracting that work with universities.  Simply put, we do not have the staff to do all of our research and contracting with universities to do the work is the most economical and efficient use of our funds.  At our research section meeting last week we had professors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Kearney, and South Dakota State University.  Between our Game & Parks Fisheries Research staff and our university partners, O’Neill was the perfect, central location.

Before my job duties evolved into what I am doing now (“Fisheries Outreach Program Manager”), I was in our fisheries research section.  For a few years I oversaw some of our statewide walleye projects.  Anyway, the research “gang” still included me in their meeting and even asked for my opinions (and I am always willing to share my opinions, Ha).  Beside that, we believe it is important that people know what we are doing, and that is where I come in.  So, let me ramble for a little bit.

There were 14 folks that attended the fisheries research section meeting last week.  Beside the university personnel that attended, we had our Game & Parks fisheries folks who are involved in fisheries research on the Missouri River, other rivers and streams, irrigation reservoirs, and database management.  Out of the 14 folks who attended the meeting, I believe we had 6 of them in the room that hold Ph.D.’s in fisheries, and most of the rest in the room hold Master’s degrees in fisheries.  It does not make any difference what degrees or education we all hold, I can tell you that we have some very qualified and highly respected fisheries professionals doing research in Nebraska.

The different biologists and professors all have different areas of expertise and interests.  Our mission here at the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission is stewardship of the state’s fisheries resources; we take advantage of those different interests and talents to help us do the best job possible in caring for all of the state’s fisheries and aquatic resources.  Our universities have always had a fisheries research presence in Nebraska, but we now have more fisheries research being conducted by university personnel than we have ever had before.  At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln alone, we now have 15 different graduate students doing research on Nebraska fisheries!  Couple that with the other personnel that I mentioned and research work is being done all over Nebraska on rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, channel catfish, flathead catfish, walleye, white bass, wiper, yellow perch, crappie, paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon, pallid sturgeon, minnows, mussels, crayfish, invasive species, fishermen and women and much more.  One of the main purposes of our meeting last week was to review what research has been done and is on-going and discuss what needs we have for future research.

Why bore you with all of this?  I already mentioned one reason; it is our job to take care of the state’s fisheries and aquatic resources.  To do that we need to know what we are dealing with; the more we know the better we understand how it works and how we can care for it.  I sometimes crawl up on my “soap-box” and preach about the success of the North American Model of Wildlife/Fisheries Management.  Usually I go on about how the fish and wildlife belong to the people, they belong to you and me.  State and federal fish and wildlife agencies are charged with the stewardship of those fish and wildlife resources; we are to take care of those resources for the people.  Another “pillar” of that North American model of fish and wildlife management is that management is based on SCIENCE.  Yes, I know sociology and politics also enter into fisheries management decisions; people are part of all fisheries, but as much as possible, management decisions are based on science.  The research work being done on Nebraska waters and fisheries will continue to advance that science and will answer questions that will enable us to be better stewards of our state’s fisheries and aquatic resources.

I have not done it for awhile, but I will continue to share interesting fisheries science and fisheries research information with you.  Yes, I am a pointy-headed fisheries biologist and all of it interests me, but I believe much of that science “stuff” is also of great interest to anglers.  A dentist buddy of mine once said “Fishing is mostly about understanding fish” (Thanks Bruce).  The more you know, the more you can appreciate our fisheries resources and the more fish you can catch.  Stay tuned . . . watch for the Thomas Dolby reference, Blinded Me with Science by Thomas Dolby .

2 Comments so far
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The more informed people are, the smarter we become as fisherman. Great to hear that Nebraska as a state, puts this effort to maintain a good fishery. I’ve always believed that your fishing is only as good as the effort that the state puts towards it. We as Nebraskans’, have some neighboring states that advertise their fisheries to proclaim they catch big fish, you need to come here. Not so long ago, Big Mac was one of the best lakes in the country to catch a fish of a lifetime. The water levels are back in Nebraska. I for one, don’t need to go elsewhere.

Comment by Ray

Buy the way, this is the exact date I caught the largest largemouth bass in my life…. In one of our public waters.

Comment by Ray

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