DNR creates 17-member committee in latest effort to save Mille Lacs walleye

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It's often said that two heads are better than one, but 17 may be best when it comes to solving the nagging walleye problem on Lake Mille Lacs.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced the creation of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee, which is made up of 17 Minnesotans who represent "angling interests," area tribes, academics, local businesses and the tourism industry, among others, a news release says.

This comes amid a difficult time for the lake, whose low walleye population forced the DNR to end walleye season unusually early this past summer. The situation left local businesses – which depend on tourism dollars generated by the anglers who visit the lake – on financially shaky ground.

The "diverse perspectives" of the committee members will help the DNR study the walleye problem and recommend changes aimed at reversing the fish's declining numbers in the popular central Minnesota lake, according to MPR News.

And the DNR does mean diverse: a number of the new panel's members are "sharp critics" of how the agency has managed Mille Lacs in the past, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, the DNR is studying last month's netting surveys for data that will help it set safe harvest limits for the 2016 season, writes MPR, which also notes the agency will announce this month the walleye limits for ice-fishing season.

The Associates Press says the Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on Thursday.

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