Science and Beer: Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change on Fisheries

Rising Waters: Understanding Climate Change and Its Impact on Fish Populations in the Northwoods”.

Fishing is a crucial economic driver in the Northwoods, and it’s not just about catching your limit. It’s also about understanding how climate change can impact fish populations in the region. With temperatures projected to warm by an additional 2 to 8 degrees in the next 25 years, research fish biologist Holly Embke has already seen changes in fish populations due to warming waters.

Species like bluegill and bass are thriving, while cold water species like walleye are struggling. A recent study highlighted that shifts in ice-off dates may pose a threat to walleye spawning. However, Embke emphasizes that it’s not all negative news. She stresses the importance of understanding where fish populations are struggling and thriving and implementing habitat restoration strategies to support these populations.

Actions such as habitat restoration and focusing on different fish species like yellow perch or sunfish may help mitigate the impacts of climate change on fisheries. Embke will be discussing these challenges and the significance of inland fisheries at the upcoming Science on Tap event in Minocqua on April 4. The event will be held at Rocky Reef Brewing Company in Woodruff and will also be available for streaming online. Embke hopes that attendees will gain a better understanding of the potential changes affecting fish communities and realize that while changes are inevitable, there are opportunities to adapt and support these ecosystems in a changing climate.

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