Based on acoustic data taken at night and vertically stratified by bottom depth (3–110 m only), the total number (± 95% Cl) of pelagic fishes in Lake Michigan was 43.4 ± 10.1 x 109 or 226.0 ± 55.2 kt in spring (mean density 0.7–3.8 fish·m-2 or 1.6–12.8 ga·m-2) and 115.8 ± 18.3 x 109 or 313.2 ± 74.3 kt in late summer, 1987 (mean density 1.1–7.0 fish·m-2 or 3.0–13.2 g·m-2); approximately 30% of this increase in numbers (35% of biomass) occurred within Green Bay. Abundance estimates from horizontally stratified (by water column depth) data were within 9-11% of vertically stratified estimates during spring but over 20% higher during summer. By extrapolation to all water depths, we estimated total pelagic biomass as 274.6 kt for spring and 410.8 kt for summer. During both seasons, smaller fishes were nearer to the surface and nearer shore than larger individuals, and acoustic measures of size approximated the sizes of fishes caught in trawls. Bioenergetic model simulations suggest that 60% of the available production of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) was either consumed by stocked salmonines (52.9%) or commercially harvested (7.1%) in 1987. Underwater acoustics proved a valuable tool for lakewide assessments of fish abundances in the Great Lakes.
Additional Publication Details
Acoustic measures of the abundance and size of pelagic planktivores in Lake Michigan
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences