2008 Spawning Cisco Investigations in the Canadian Waters of Lake Superior

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The Great Lakes Science Center of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is working cooperatively with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) on a threeyear study to develop standard procedures for acoustic and midwater trawl (AC-MT) assessments of spawning cisco Coregonus artedi that the OMNR can carry forward as a management activity. In year two (2008), we conducted an AC-MT survey of the northern shore from Nipigon Bay to Thunder Bay. Spawning-cisco (> 250 mm total length) densities were lowest near Nipigon Bay (<10/ha), moderate in and around Black Bay (15- 30/ha), and highest in Thunder Bay (118/ha). Rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax densities were highest in Nipigon (2,179/ha) and Black (3,219/ha) bays, and lowest in Thunder Bay (961/ha). We combined our AC-MT survey results with commercial catch records to estimate exploitation fractions of female cisco in Thunder Bay during the 2008 fishery at 4% for ages 1-5, 8.7% for ages 6-12, and 4.4% for ages ≥ 13. Lake Superior fishery managers recently recommended that annual exploitation of adult female lake cisco be kept below 10-15%. Recruitment of cisco since 2003 has been low and there is a strong probability the Thunder Bay stock will decline into the future. Using a simple population dynamics approach we estimated that if the current total allowable catch (TAC) quota is held constant, exploitation fractions could exceed 10% by 2010 and 15% by 2011. Our 2008 collections suggested the survey of Black Bay was likely conducted before all spawners had returned there to spawn. Our data also suggested that cisco collected in Black Bay and east of this site in mid-November may be from the same stock. During November 2009 we will attempt to get better definition of the area occupied by cisco around Black Bay and also determine when surveys should be conducted at this location.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Unnumbered Series
Title 2008 Spawning Cisco Investigations in the Canadian Waters of Lake Superior
DOI 10.3133/70161856
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 47 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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