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October 5, 2010

MANITOWOC - A new video shows the state's new research vessel taking shape at the Burger Boat Company here, coming closer to setting sail on its mission to help keep Lake Michigan and its fisheries healthy in the 21st century.

The Burger Boat Company is building the 60-foot RV Coregonus, so named after the fish genus that includes lake whitefish, lake herring and bloater chubs, species that are mainstays of the Lake Michigan fishery.

The boat will replace the RV Barney Devine, which was built by the same company in 1937, and which has served the Department of Natural Resources and its predecessor agency on Lake Michigan for more than 70 years.

Although the RV Barney Devine has been well maintained, the vessel has become technologically obsolete and the maintenance expense is expected to increase dramatically, according to Paul Peeters, DNR fisheries supervisor at Sturgeon Bay, where the vessel will be docked.

So Peeters and Brandon Bastar, the DNR fisheries technician who will captain the boat, worked closely with SeaCraft Design in Sturgeon Bay to develop a design for the RV Coregonus that would maintain the ability to use gill nets but also expand abilities to include more types of fisheries and limnological sampling gear.

The RV Barney Devine has typically conducted Lake Michigan gill net surveys from early May through the end of December to help DNR estimate populations of lake trout and burbot, as well as seasonal gill net surveys for juvenile lake whitefish, spawning lake whitefish, yellow perch, and bloater chubs. In recent years the RV Barney Devine has also been used to conduct gill net surveys for chinook salmon and as a platform for other fisheries or limnological research with other DNR bureaus and agencies.

The $1,995,500 in funding for the vessel will come primarily from license revenues placed in the segregated fisheries account, with an additional $500,000 provided from salmon stamp revenues, Peeters says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Peeters (920) 746-2865; Brandon Bastar (920) 746-2881

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 05, 2010

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