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February 14, 2012

MILWAUKEE -- For sale: a boatload of Lake Michigan history.

The state has put up for sale a 75-year-old steel-hulled gill net boat that plied Lake Michigan waters for decades, first helping conservation wardens check on commercial fishermen and more recently helping fisheries staff monitor the health of yellow perch, whitefish, and other Lake Michigan fishing favorites.

The boat, the RV Barney Devine, is listed for sale on People can search that website for "Barney Devine" for more information and for the latest purchase bid. Revenues from the boat's sale go into the Fish and Wildlife Account, which supports natural resource programs including fisheries, wildlife management, law enforcement, and research.

"The Barney Devine has been a stalwart, seaworthy and dependable ship working on Lake Michigan on behalf of the citizens of the state of Wisconsin for more than seven decades," says Brad Eggold, DNR fisheries supervisor for southern Lake Michigan.

"As with many things in life, this chapter of Wisconsin's Lake Michigan history has to come to an end. We're hoping the Barney Devine can find a new home and continue its service for new owners."

The Barney Devine was replaced in August 2011 when the Department of Natural Resources took delivery of a new faster, more versatile research vessel. The new vessel, the 60-foot RV Coregonus, so named after the fish genus that includes lake whitefish, lake herring and bloater chubs, was built by Burger Boat Company of Manitowoc, the company that built the Barney Devine. Watch videos about the history and construction of both boats on DNR's New Lake Michigan Research Boat Starts Its Mission page. /fish/greatlakes/coregonus.html

The DNR bought the vessel in 1940 and renamed it the RV Barney Devine after Chief Conservation Warden Barney Devine who had died in December 1940 while still in office.

The 50-foot, 37-ton Barney Devine had been used to check commercial fishers, haul gill nets, conduct fisheries research, and take on a host of water quality studies and Great Lakes law enforcement. The vessel played an important role in helping maintain Wisconsin's Great Lakes sport and commercial fisheries. Sportfishing generates a $418.8 million dollar economic impact, supports more than 5,000 jobs, and generates $28 million in state and local tax revenues on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

Last Mission of the RV Barney Devine

A job well done: the 74-year-old RV Barney Devine steamed out of Milwaukee Harbor in December 2010 for one last netting survey for yellow perch.

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    RV Barney Devine breaking through ice in Sturgeon Bay

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    A view from the pilot house

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    Cheryl Peterson, fisheries technician from Milwaukee tries her hand at piloting the boat

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    Dave Schindelholz, Brad Eggold, Pradeep Hirethota, and Cheryl Peterson pose for one last picture on the Barney Devine

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    A look at sea conditions off Milwaukee during Barney's last yellow perch assessment

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    "Pancake ice" two miles offshore

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    Staff buoy showing the location of yellow perch nets

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    Dick Pagel, retired captain of the RV Barney Devine holds down the fort

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    Fisheries technician, Dave Schindelholz, boxes yellow perch nets under the watchful eye of Captain Dick Pagel

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    Dick Pagel and Dave Schindelholz stop to pose for a picture

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    Tim Kroeff, fisheries technician, monitors the setting of the yellow perch gill net

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    The crew picks out fish from the net as it comes out of the water

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    Research Vessel Captain, Brandon Bastar, holds a trophy-sized yellow perch

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    Dick Pagel, Brad Eggold, Cheryl Peterson, Tim Kroeff, Brandon Bastar and Pradeep Hirethota take some time for a group photo during one of the last surveys

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    The RV Barney Devine makes its way through the ice

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    Ken Royseck, fisheries technician; Scott Hansen, fisheries biologist; and Pat McKee, fisheries technician, gather round to bring in the RV Barney Devine from its last mission.

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    The RV Barney Devine gets tied up at the WATER Institute in Milwaukee

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    Crew for one of the last trips onboard the RV Barney Devine after the cruise: Pradeep Hirethota, Brad Eggold, Dave Schindelholz, Brandon Bastar, Dick Pagel, Cheryl Peterson and Tim Kroeff


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold (414) 382-7921

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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