DNR Monitoring Die Off Of Alewife In Lake Michigan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeing a die off of alewife in Lake Michigan. DNR Lake Michigan Basin Coordinator Jay Wesley tells WSJM News alewife are invasive fish that came from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Michigan about 100 years ago. They aren’t consumed by people, but they are a major source of food for salmon. They’ve been washing up along the shore lately. Wesley says it’s not all that unusual, though.

“Historically, they used to create quite a mess on our beaches and it required equipment like bulldozers to remove,” Wesley said. “So, this die off is nowhere near as bad as it historically was, but we haven’t seen a die off of this magnitude for a good ten years.”

Wesley says the die off is likely due to the fish coming out of the winter in poor shape. It could also be they’re swimming too close to shore, where the temperatures are less consistent. The fish are mostly washing up along the shore from Muskegon to Mackinac Island. The DNR is monitoring the die off, but not concerned. Wesley says a die off of another species, like salmon, would be a concern. You can report suspected fish die offs via the DNR’s website.