The shortjaw cisco (Coregonus zenithicus) was historically found in Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior, but has been extirpated in Lakes Huron and Michigan apparently as the result of commercial overharvest. During 1999-2001, we conducted an assessment of shortjaw cisco abundance in five areas, spanning the U.S. waters of Lake Superior, and compared our results with the abundance measured at those areas in 1921-1922. The shortjaw cisco was found at four of the five areas sampled, but abundances were so low that they were not significantly different from zero. In the four areas where shortjaw ciscoes were found, abundance declined significantly by 99% from the 1920s to the present. To increase populations of this once economically and ecologically important species in Lake Superior, an interagency rehabilitation effort is needed. Population monitoring is recommended to assess population trends and to evaluate success of rehabilitation efforts.
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Status of the shortjaw cisco (Coregonus zenithicus) in Lake Superior