Lake Erie Lake Whitefish
Project Title
Understanding spatial and temporal movement patterns of Lake Erie Lake Whitefish
Project Code
LEWHF
Project Duration
December 2015 - December 2018
Project Description
The Lake Whitefish population in Lake Erie historically supported a large commercial fishery throughout the lake. Recently, harvest levels have declined dramatically and concern about the long-term sustainability of this population and fishery exists with the management agencies. Aggregations of gravid, flowing Lake Whitefish (i.e., males and females) are annually harvested in the western basin of Lake Erie near the mouth of the Maumee River and western basin reef complex. However, it is unclear if these fish spawn in the vicinity or are moving through these areas and spawn elsewhere. Additionally, aside from fishery-dependent harvest monitoring and catches in population assessment surveys little information exists regarding the spatial and temporal movement pattern of these fish within Lake Erie and connecting waters. The purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of spawning and post-spawning movement patterns of Lake Whitefish that migrate to the western basin of Lake Erie to spawn. Spatial and temporal patterns of exploitation and survival may support Lake Whitefish assessment modeling efforts for informing management decisions.
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Funding