Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Ship To Focus On Great Lakes Trout Population

A new, $8 million ship built for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and featuring removable fish tanks on deck will focus on the lake trout population of the Great Lakes. The M/V Spencer F. Baird, which replaces the M/V Togue, has arrived at its home port on the Cheboygan River at the Great Lakes Science Center docks. The Baird is designed for stocking lake trout, the Fish and Wildlife Service said on its Web site. The agency has released millions of yearling lake trout into lakes Michigan and Huron in recent years using the Togue."It's the first boat of this magnitude built for the Fish and Wildlife Service since the mid-1980s," said Gerry Jackson, assistant regional director of the agency's fisheries division in Fort Snelling, Minn. The 95-foot-long Baird "has very unique missions _ fish restoration and the capability of assessment," Capt. Mike Perry told reporters. The Baird can check fish from the lakes "and tell you what they weigh, what they've been eating. All that data is logged," Perry said. A dedication for the Baird is planned for Sept. 7 in Traverse City.

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