Minnesota DNR's fisheries chief leaving post

Don Pereira with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Don Pereira (right) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources testifies before a working group studying the walleye problem on Lake Mille Lacs.
Tom Scheck | MPR News 2015

Don Pereira, the chief of fisheries for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, is retiring.

Pereira has led the DNR's fisheries section since 2013. He says he's held the position longer than he originally planned.

"When I took this job grudgingly I figured, well I'll probably give it four years or so, and it's been about four and a half," he said. "I think I've pretty much gotten done what I wanted to get done."

The job can be controversial, as the chief decides how to manage fisheries and sets angling regulations. In recent years, Pereira has taken criticism for tighter walleye restrictions and closures on Lake Mille Lacs.

Pereira and other DNR officials have acknowledged that the restrictions have an impact on the business community around Mille Lacs, but have maintained that they are necessary to protect and restore the lake's walleye population, which has declined in recent years.

Pereira's last day at the DNR will be June 8. The 59-year-old plans to continue working in the private sector.

He says he also will keep his appointed position on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. He serves as chairman of the Sea Lamprey Control Board.

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