Cisco restoration in Lake Michigan
Sara Adlerstein, University of Michigan
Cisco, once the dominant prey species in the Great Lakes, have been decimated by overfishing, habitat loss, and invasive species. Today, new opportunities are rising to restore cisco populations in Lake Michigan. However, there are diverse views on the best strategies for cisco restoration. This project will pull together stakeholders who are most likely to be affected by cisco restoration efforts. The research team will help resource managers evaluate policy options and identify necessary tools and data for future restoration activities.
Project overview (PDF)
Status and Trends (PDF)
Expanding Michigan's aquaculture into a sustainable seafood industry
Christopher Weeks, Michigan State University
Aquaculture has grown tremendously on a global scale in recent decades and now meets nearly half the world’s seafood demand. Michigan has the potential to support a vibrant aquaculture industry. However, commercial aquaculture development in Michigan has been stagnant since 1991. This project is designed to identify and address the current underdeveloped aquaculture industry in Michigan. The research team will ultimately develop a Strategic Action Plan for expanding the state’s current commercial aquaculture program into a major sustainable seafood industry.
Project overview (PDF)
Project report (PDF)
Detroit River fish consumption advisories
Donna Kashian, Wayne State University
Researchers conducted interviews and organized three workshops — involving 67 stakeholder groups, such as community health and fisheries professionals from U.S. and Canadian agencies — to help focus the project on the most important research questions. Contaminant bioaccumulation models were used to predict PCB levels in fish not currently tested and to estimate the role of new and legacy pollution sources. New signs and brochures are already being distributed to help anglers choose safe fish species.
Project overview (PDF)
Project report (PDF)
Evaluating harvest policies for yellow perch in Lake Michigan
James Bence and Michael Jones, Michigan State University
To improve the management of Lake Michigan’s yellow perch population, Sea Grant-funded scientists at Michigan State University used a combination of fish stock assessment results and stakeholder input to develop a state-of-the-art decision analysis model. Results of the analyses are informing fisheries management decisions in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin as the states adopt yellow perch harvest management regulations. This work has also contributed to national and international fisheries harvest policy discussions.
Spatial genetic structuring of forage fish in the upper Great Lakes: Evidence for a subdivided forage base and implications for structuring in predatory fish species
Kim Scribner, Michigan State University
Wendy Stott, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center
Alewife, smelt, sculpin, and bloater have something in common: together with several other species, these fish comprise what’s known as the forage base in the upper Great Lakes. As such, they provide meals for important predatory fish such as lake trout and salmon. This study used genetic testing to identify the movement and distribution of forage fish to better understand how they are related to top predator populations. Researchers identified the relative importance of predation and habitat characteristics in structuring fish communities.
The use of cDNA microarrays to identify genes involved in the immunotoxicity of benzo(a)pyrene in the rainbow trout
Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University
Effects of habitat characteristics on the distribution, growth, and survival of juvenile fish in the Great Lakes wetlands
Thomas Coon, Michigan State University
Overwinter mortality of age-zero lake herring in relation to body size, physiological condition, and water temperature
Alan Sutton, Purdue University
Developing and communicating improved methods of fish stock assessment
Jim Bence, Michigan State University
Application of decision analysis to Great Lakes fishery management
Michael Jones and Jim Bence, Michigan State University
Randall Peterman, Simon Fraser University
Researchers developed and presented decision analysis models for two case studies: one on sea lamprey control in the St. Mary’s River and another on salmonine stocking in Lake Michigan. The results influenced management decisions and strategic thinking of the participating agencies. Notably, the sea lamprey case study provided pivotal information to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s planning for future lamprey control on the St. Mary’s River and may influence barrier planning and stream selection. Project researchers are also working with the Lake Erie Committee on decision analysis for walleye management and have provided advice to managers with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for management issues on Lakes Huron and Ontario.
Recruitment failure of yellow perch in SE Lake Michigan: Evaluation of the starvation and predation hypotheses
David Jude, University of Michigan
This research evaluated two explanations for why yellow perch larvae were not surviving and maturing successfully in southern Lake Michigan. The research was part of a dual project co-funded by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and also part of a consortium of 20 to 30 yellow perch researchers — the Yellow Perch Task Group — brought together under the auspices of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Work by the Yellow Perch Task Group documented and drew attention to the problem that yellow perch larvae were not successfully surviving and sustaining healthy adult populations. This research led to the closing of three commercial fisheries in the 1990s and a reduction of sport fishing catch in all states, allowing yellow perch populations to begin recovering.
Physical and biological processes influencing recruitment of walleye
Daniel Hayes and Michael Jones, Michigan State University
Understanding and managing for variation in the Lake Michigan salmonine fishery
Jim Bence and Daniel Hayes, Michigan State University
This research has had a positive impact on the management of lake trout and lake whitefish populations, particularly in areas of the Great Lakes that are jointly controlled by U.S., Canadian, and tribal authorities. Fisheries managers rely on data about the past and current size of fish populations, called stock assessments, to make decisions about healthy levels of fishing. With Sea Grant funding, Bence evaluated the performance of stock assessment methods, which has led to improvements in the methods used to track fish populations. In addition, Sea Grant sponsored two short courses on stock assessment methods that were heavily attended by agency fishery biologists charged with ongoing stock assessments.