WISCONSIN — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will no longer issue licenses to fishermen in the state for red-fish fishing, state officials announced Tuesday.
The department’s Fisheries and Wildlife Division will no more issue licenses for redfish.
That means Wisconsin fishermen will have to find another way to catch the popular species of fish.
Wisconsin’s red-fishing population is on the decline due to a variety of factors, including warmer water temperatures, decreased fish stocks, warmer winters and higher costs of catching and releasing fish.
Fisheries Division Director Jim Wohlers said the agency was making the move in order to address a problem that was already causing problems.
“Red-fished Wisconsin is not a problem we want to have, nor do we want it to become a problem,” Wohler said in a statement.
“Red-fish Wisconsin is a Wisconsin tradition and a good thing.”
The department will be working with the Wisconsin Department for Environmental Quality to implement a program that will require fish licensees to catch red-flagged redfish that are smaller than two inches.
This will require the department to review every red-tag license application.
The program will require all red-flag fish to be tagged with a warning sign, and the fish will have a tracking tag that identifies their size.
Fish licenses for smaller fish are already on the books in Wisconsin, but Wohlings said the current red-tags program is not working.
Red-flag redfish are larger than two and a half inches.
They are caught in Wisconsin for two to 10 days.
They can be caught by anglers, trappers, or hunters.
The red flag redfish will be tracked to Wisconsin and tagged with the same red tag as the bigger fish.
The state’s fishery agency will send a notification to the Wisconsin DNR if a red- tag license is approved, Wohls said.
A number of other states, including Maryland and Maine, are working on similar programs to address red-Tag fish issues.
Maryland has implemented a system where fishing license holders can track red-flags to the state.
The system requires fish license holders to capture red-marked redfish from the water and then track the fish’s location, according to Maryland Fish and Game.
The Maryland program also requires anglers to monitor their fish’s whereabouts throughout the season.