March 2, 2018
Gordy Gotsch
on McGraw Aquaponics

Last week, McGraw Fisheries Manager Gordy Gotsch spoke to members about the latest development at the Foundation: An aquaponics program that produces hardier fish for our lakes and fresh lettuce for Pond Cottage.

Aquaponics is a process that grows produce and fish in the same tanks. It holds great potential for solving worldwide demand for fish while providing fresh greens year-round. But while aquaponics has been around for some time, McGraw is leading the way by studying its use as a way to grow game fish such as walleye. Most other facilities instead grow tilapia – a commonly farmed food fish.

Gordy’s hope is that McGraw will produce gamefish that will have better survival rates once released into our lakes, improving fishing in the process. This vision could well revolutionize the fish hatchery business.

It’s all a tribute to Gordy’s innovation as well as the support of our members, who contributed the funds to build the new facility. Another McGraw success story is well on its way.
Bill to Overhaul Marine Fisheries Advances
By Kristyn Brady/TRCP
Photo by Lara Eakins/flickr
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has overwhelmingly approved the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017, otherwise known as the Modern Fish Act. This legislation calls for critically important updates to the oversight of federal fisheries, including by adding more tools to the management toolbox, improving data collection techniques, and examining some fishery allocations that are based on decades-old decisions.

The Modern Fish Act was introduced in the Senate in July 2017 by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). It has since received strong bipartisan support from 12 cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. In addition, a broad coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community has endorsed the Modern Fish Act and highlighted the importance of updating the nation’s fisheries management system to more accurately distinguish between recreational and commercial fishing.

Through years of deliberation, the priorities of the recreational fishing and boating community were identified and presented to federal policy makers by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management. This group is also referred to as the Morris-Deal Commission, named for co-chairs Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boat Group. In 2014, the Morris-Deal Commission released “ A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries ,” which included six key policy changes to expand saltwater recreational fishing’s social, economic and conservation benefits to the nation.
Meantime, Overfishing Continues to Spread
By Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis/The Washington Post
Photo by Fred Dawson/flickr
Humans are now fishing at least 55 percent of the world’s oceans — an area four times larger than the area occupied by humanity’s onshore agriculture.

That startling statistic is among the findings of a unique, high-tech collaboration that is providing a massive amount of new data about global fishing operations. The results,  published in the journal Science , offer a powerful glimpse of the problem of overfishing on the hard-to-regulate high seas.  According to  the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 31.4 percent of global fish stocks were overfished or fished unsustainably, as of 2013, while another 58.1 percent were “fully fished.”

The findings relied on data from Global Fishing Watch, a collaboration encompassing Oceana, SkyTruth and Google. Researchers compiled billions of data points from tracking systems that the International Maritime Organization requires for about 70,000 fishing vessels.
A Louisiana Village, Left to Fight the Tides
By Kevin Sack and John Schwartz/The New York Times
Photo by Maltri/flickr
From a Cessna flying 4,000 feet above Louisiana’s coast, what strikes you first is how much is already lost. Northward from the Gulf, slivers of barrier island give way to the open water of Barataria Bay as it billows toward an inevitable merger with Little Lake, its name now a lie. Ever-widening bayous course through what were once dense wetlands, and a cross-stitch of oil field canals stamp the marsh like Chinese characters.

Saltwater intrusion, the result of subsidence, sea-level rise and erosion, has killed off the live oaks and bald cypress. Stands of roseau cane and native grasses have been reduced to brown pulp by feral hogs, orange-fanged nutria and a voracious aphid-like invader from Asia. A relentless succession of hurricanes and tropical storms — three last season alone — has accelerated the decay. In all,  more than 2,000 square miles , an expanse larger than the state of Delaware, have disappeared since 1932.

Out toward the horizon, a fishing village appears on a fingerling of land, tenuously gripping the banks of a bending bayou. It sits defenseless, all but surrounded by encroaching basins of water. Just two miles north is the jagged tip of a fortresslike levee, a primary line of defense for greater New Orleans, whose skyline looms in the distance. Everything south of that 14-foot wall of demarcation, including the gritty little town of Jean Lafitte, has effectively been left to the tides.
The Last Wild Horses Really Aren’t Wild
By Will Dunham/Reuters
Photo by Garrett Ziegler/flickr
Przewalski’s horse, now numbering roughly 2,000 in Mongolia, was long thought to be the last wild horse -- meaning no history of domestication -- unlike other free-roaming horses like the mustangs of the western United States that descended from steeds brought to North America centuries ago by Spaniards.

But researchers now say an examination of the genomes of dozens of ancient and modern horses concluded that Przewalski’s horse, saved from extinction in the 20th century, descended from horses domesticated in northern Kazakhstan some 5,500 years ago by people in what is called the Botai culture.

The research showed that the Botai culture offers the earliest-known evidence for horse domestication, but that their horses were not the ancestors of modern domesticated breeds.
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

- Aldo Leopold
To read past McGraw Reports click here.