Manitoba offers Lake Winnipeg buyouts

There was a welcome development for anglers who fish Lake Winnipeg this past week with the Manitoba government's announcement that it will offer voluntary buyouts for commercial netters and introduce new commercial and recreational fishing regulations in an effort to help assure sustainable fish populations on the big lake.

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"We are seeing early warning signs the sustainability of fisheries resources in Lake Winnipeg is at risk," Rochelle Squires, Manitoba minister of Sustainable Development, said in a news release. "By acting today, we will ensure the ability of Manitoba's great lake to generate food, provide enjoyment and support economic growth in (the) future."

The province through March 21 is offering a voluntary commercial fisheries quota buy-back option for netters to sell their annual allowable catch back to the government. The province then will retire the purchased allotments in order to reduce the amount of commercial catch taken from the lake every year.

In an effort to allow more smaller fish to grow to spawning size and increase the overall natural productivity of the lake over time, the province will consult netters on other sustainable regulation measures, including minimum mesh sizes for commercial nets and minimum length limits for hook-and-line anglers to keep fish.

A 30-day consultation period began Monday, March 11.

-- Herald staff report

Ducks Unlimited names new CEO

Adam Putnam is the new CEO of Ducks Unlimited effective April 1, the conservation group said Wednesday.

"I joined Ducks Unlimited when I was 16 and have a lifelong appreciation of the conservation work the organization accomplishes," Putnam said in a statement. "It's humbling to be chosen as DU's CEO, and as a lifelong hunter, angler and conservationist, I look forward to building on our record of success."

DU's current CEO, Dale Hall, will remain in place to help with the transition until his retirement on June 30.

Putnam most recently was Florida's ag commissioner, serving in one of four statewide elected positions within the government. He led the nation's largest state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and was responsible for the management of 1.3 million acres of state forests, running the state Energy Office and directing the state's school nutrition programs.

"From the outset, the CEO search committee here at Ducks Unlimited wanted to find a unique balance of conservation, policy and agriculture background in the new CEO candidate," DU President Rogers Hoyt said. "In Adam, we feel we have hit on all three. Not to mention he's an approachable, passionate and visionary person, so Adam was the perfect fit."

Before serving as ag commissioner, Putnam served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elected in 2000, Putnam, a Republican, was the youngest member of Congress at the time and the youngest ever from Florida.

He is a fifth-generation Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida.

-- Ducks Unlimited

National campaign encourages boat safety

A national safe boating campaign kicking off Sunday, March 17 and continuing through Saturday, March 23 aims to encourage boat operators to take a certified boating safety course.

"Spring Aboard - Take a Boating Education Course" wants boaters to get educated before the start of the boating season.

Brian Schaffer, education coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, recommends all boaters take the state's boating basics course even though it's not required for anyone 16 or older. North Dakota state law only requires 12- to 15-year-olds to pass the course before operating a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10-horsepower motor by themselves.

In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home study from the Game and Fish Department's Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites can be found on the department's website at

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

Upon completing the online test and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 30 days a permanent card will be mailed.

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

For more information, contact Schaffer by email at or call (701) 328-6300.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Game and Fish seeks habitat contractors

Contractors who are able to perform habitat work on Private Land Open To Sportsmen program lands across North Dakota are invited to add their businesses to a database the state Game and Fish Department will maintain on its website,, to help landowners who are looking to develop wildlife habitat on their property.

PLOTS is an agreement between private landowners and Game and Fish to open private land to walking hunting access. Contracts can involve establishing or enhancing wildlife habitat, such as grass plantings and food plots, on PLOTS lands. Landowners who don't have the necessary equipment to perform the work usually need a contractor.

"In some parts of the state, there is a shortage of contractors or equipment to perform habitat work," said Kevin Kading, Game and Fish private lands section leader. "The bulk of the habitat work is planting native and introduced grasses, which requires a tractor, operator and a no-till drill or native grass drill. Other work can include wildlife food plots and tree plantings."

Providing company information does not guarantee any future work, but as projects come about, Game and Fish will refer landowners to interested contractors.

More info: or (701) 328-6300.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

• President Donald Trump on Monday proposed a budget of $1.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2020 for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The budget also included an additional $1.5 billion in permanent funding administered to states through grants that support state wildlife and sport fish conservation, recreational boating and other related programs. Congress in 2018 approved $1.595 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service, which was $75 million more than the 2017 enacted level.

• Northeast Minnesota's moose population remains stable but relatively low for the eighth year in a row, the Department of Natural Resources said last week in reporting results from the 2019 winter moose survey. Survey results tallied an estimated moose population of 4,180, statistically unchanged from 2018's estimate of 3,030. The results reflect a 90 percent certainty that the moose population is between 3,250 and 5,580 animals. This year's population estimate is 53 percent lower than 2006, when the survey estimated 8,840 moose, the recent high since the DNR launched modern moose surveys in 2005. Last year's population estimate was 65 percent lower than 2006. More info:

-- compiled by Brad Dokken