Management of percids in Lake Erie, North America

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Edited by:
W.L.T. van Densen, B. Steinmetz, and R.H. Hughes


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Lake Erie's fish populations and their habitats have undergone very substantial changes since 1945. Of the four percid forms originally present, the blue pike (Stizostedion vitreum glaucum) is presumed extinct, and the sauger (S. canadense) was commercially extinct by the 1950's. The walleye (S. v. vitreum) has remained stable in eastern Lake Erie but the highly productive stock of the western basin collapsed in the 1960's. Closure of the walleye fishery from 1970 to 1973, necessitated by mercury contamination, provided an opportunity for the development of an international management plan for restoration of the stock. An inter-agency Scientific Protocol Committee evaluated walleye dynamics and recommended management by quota beginning in 1976. Although quotas have been exceeded several times, the walleye stock responded well to limited exploitation, steadily increased, and expanded its range. Landings of the yellow perch (Perca flavescens) increased during the 1950's, but a steady decline in abundance, beginning in the early 1970's led to the formation in 1980 of another international inter-agency task group to recommend a basis for quota management. The short-term management recommendation, reported and accepted in 1986, was to reduce fishing effort by 20% by 1990. Both management schemes evolved when the resource agencies of the five jurisdictions (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario), in the two nations surrounding Lake Erie, perceived a need for the increased and improved management of a shared resource. They sought an international forum in which to develop strategies, appointed inter-agency scientific task groups to develop a basis for management recommendations, and adopted a quota management scheme. Each jurisdiction is responsible for the enforcement and allocation of its portion of the quota between user groups. Reports of catch, effort, and biological observations on stock performance are submitted annually to a standing technical committee charged with updating quotas.

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Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Management of percids in Lake Erie, North America
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Contributing office(s):
Great Lakes Science Center
p. 624-636
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Other Government Series
Larger Work Title:
Management of freshwater fisheries
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