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September 7, 2022

National CASC fish biologist Abby Lynch explains how climate change is affecting the future of fish populations in Wisconsin lakes and a Friday night dinner favorite.  

A recent article in Grist proposes that climate change is affecting more than just fish, it's threatening Friday night fish frys, too! 

In Wisconsin, many people celebrate the end of the week with a basket of fried fish, but as global temperatures rise, Wisconsin’s lakes are also heating up. This change is altering weather conditions, creating more hospitable environments for invasive fish species, and the species commonly used for fried fish, such as perch, lake trout and whitefish, have seen a decline in population. This is making it harder for restaurants to provide locals with their Friday night staple. 

National CASC fish biologist Abby Lynch is quoted in the article explaining how rising temperatures are causing lakes to thaw faster, which exposes juvenile fish to the harsh lake elements, and can make them more vulnerable to turbulent windstorms that may bury fish eggs. Other factors such as increased precipitation and drought events will continue to change how future fish populations survive. The impacts of these changes are already being felt by shoreline communities, with restaurants and other industries noticing the more limited supply of local fish. Despite these changes, the region’s commitment to Great Lakes fish is leading resource managers to reflect and learn from different fishing communities’ successes and challenges from across the Great Lakes area.