HOPE, Idaho, Feb. 12 (UPI) — Thousands of invasive mackinaw fish that have disrupted the food chain are being culled from Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille, wildlife officials said.
The fish, also known as lake trout, were introduced in 1925, but began to dominate the lake in the 1990s, devouring endangered bull trout and kokanee, a landlocked salmon popular with sport fishermen, The Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review reported Friday.
Because mackinaw are native to the Great Lakes, a Bailey Harbor, Wis., firm skilled in catching the fish was hired to cull the mackinaw from Lake Pend Oreille.
Hickey Brothers Fisheries targets the mackinaw with 900-foot deep-water gill nets under a $460,000 contract with the state Fish and Game Department.
The Hickey Brothers crew plans to set 4 to 5 miles of nets each day for the next several months, pack the day’s catch on ice and take it to local food banks, where it will be given to low-income families, Jim Fredericks, a fish and game spokesman, said.
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