Identification and management of unique stocks of exploited fish species are high-priority management goals in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We analyzed whole-body morphometrics of 1430 yellow perch Perca flavescens captured during 2007–2009 from seven known spawning areas in Lake Erie to determine if morphometrics vary among sites and management units to assist in identification of spawning stocks of this heavily exploited species. Truss-based morphometrics (n = 21 measurements) were analyzed using principal component analysis followed by ANOVA of the first three principal components to determine whether yellow perch from the several sampling sites varied morphometrically. Duncan's multiple range test was used to determine which sites differed from one another to test whether morphometrics varied at scales finer than management unit. Morphometrics varied significantly among sites and annually, but differences among sites were much greater. Sites within the same management unit typically differed significantly from one another, indicating morphometric variation at a scale finer than management unit. These results are largely congruent with recently-published studies on genetic variation of yellow perch from many of the same sampling sites. Thus, our results provide additional evidence that there are discrete stocks of yellow perch in Lake Erie and that management units likely comprise multiple stocks.
Additional publication details
Morphological evidence for discrete stocks of yellow perch in Lake Erie