Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Sucker family - catostomidae, pp. 607-691 ff. PDF (39.5 MB)
Sucker Family-Catostomidae 609 Midsagittal section through the head of the bigmouth buffalo, showing the small mouth and pharyngeal cavities Although suckers have been harvested by commercial fishermen in all Wisconsin drainages for many years, the small amounts they receive in price hardly pay the cost of handling. In the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, sucker production in 1974 was 141,400 kg, which was valued at $8,787 (Wis. Dep. Nat. Resour. 1976c); the waters of Green Bay with 85% of the harvest are the principal areas of production, and most suck- ers are taken incidentally to perch, whitefish, and alewives. In Lake Su- perior, the commercial catch for 1974 was 24,000 kg, and in the Missis- sippi River it was 21,300 kg. The catches noted above reflect the poor market conditions for suck- ers. Potentially, suckers could provide substantially more commercial production than the figures reported, since sucker populations are at high levels, with strong spawning runs and consistent year class strength. It has been estimated that 1.4-1.8 million kilograms of suckers could be taken annually from the American side of the Great Lakes. In Wisconsin, thousands of kilograms could be harvested yearly from many of our inland lakes and streams without harming the seed stock. In Wisconsin consideration should be given to elevating the suckers to the level of sport fishes. Large suckers are spectacular fighters when hooked, and on the table they pose excellent fare. They are a notable resource which has been unjustly overshadowed by sport fish, some of which are inferior in fighting and eating qualities. Unfortunately, the sucker's image as a "trash fish" and "rough fish" has not been corrected by our public agencies, and the public persists in the view that suckers are valueless, tasteless, nuisance fish. The fact is that, as fish flesh goes, suckers are among the largest and tastiest of fishes. They have other desirable qualities: they are low in cholesterol, high in protein, and can be refrigerated for long periods without much
Copyright 1983. The entirety of this book is available for viewing by the public as an Open Access text through the cooperative efforts of George Becker, the University of Wisconsin Press, and the UWDCC. This Work is copyrighted to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Any use of this material falling outside the purview of "Fair Use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.