The American Fisheries Society (AFS) chose the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) for an outstanding project award for its work and research on the commission’s ten year study of panfish populations. This research has shown that panfish size and populations can be increased by restricting harvest while still proving an excellent fishing experience for the angler.
Originally conceived in 1995 by PFBC biologists in 1994, the study formally began in 1999 when the commission placed size and bag limits on select lakes in the commonwealth. Minimum size limits were placed on yellow perch, crappie and sunfish along with restricted, yet still liberal, harvest limits. After ten years the biologists surveyed the lakes and found the regulations had an across the board positive effect on the number and size of panfish in these waters.
According to Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management and the project leader for the research study, “Because they are widely available and generally taste good, panfish are one of the most popular fish targeted by anglers,”
This study shows, that contrary to popular belief, it is possible to over harvest panfish. In general, anglers have been satisfied with the results of this new management due to the increased size of the fish now caught.
Congratulations to the PFBC for a job well done.