Manipulations of size at stocking and timing of stocking have already been used to improve survival of stocked salmonines in the Great Lakes. It should be possible to stock salmonines into the Great Lakes in a way that reduces the rate of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) accumulation in these fishes. An individual-based model (IBM) was used to investigate the effects of size at stocking and timing of stocking on PCB accumulation by lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Lake Michigan. The individual-based feature of the model allowed lake trout individuals to encounter prey fish individuals and then consume sufficiently small prey fish. The IBM accurately accounted for the variation in PCB concentrations observed within the Lake Michigan lake trout population. Results of the IBM simulations revealed that increasing the average size at stocking from 110 to 160 mm total length led to an increase in the average PCB concentration in the stocked cohort at age 5, after the fish had spent 4 years in the lake, from 2.33 to 2.65 mg/kg; the percentage mg/kg or more increased from 62% to 79%. Thus, PCB contamination was reduced when the simulated size at stocking was smallest. An overall stocking strategy for lake trout into Lake Michigan should weigh this advantage regarding PCB contamination against the poor survival of lake trout that may occur if the trout are stocked at too small a size.
Additional publication details
Simulation of the effects of time and size at stocking on PCB accumulation in lake trout