Restoration of Lake Trout in Lake Superior through Interagency Cooperative Management

By:  and 

Links

Abstract

The lake trout is a keystone species in the Laurentian Great Lakes that supported valuable fisheries throughout the basin. However, lake trout populations declined to near extirpation in nearly all of the lakes because of the combined effects of over-fishing, sea lamprey predation, and habitat degradation. To restore self-sustaining lake trout populations in Lake Superior, state, provincial, federal, and tribal agencies agreed to an interjurisdictional management framework that allowed them to articulate and institute: (1) clear and common goals and actions for recovery; (2) early and intensive lake-wide stocking of hatchery-reared lake trout to enhance failing stocks; (3) early and effective lake-wide controls on mortality caused by sea lampreys and fisheries; and (4) standardized lake-wide evaluations of population trajectories and performance. Stocking was initiated in Lake Superior in 1950 and expanded after 1953, prior to effecting sea lamprey or fishery controls, thereby introducing large numbers of hatchery-origin fish that grew to maturity shortly after mortality was reduced. Abundant suitable nearshore spawning habitat was widely available for naïve lean hatchery-origin lake trout, and native lean lake trout persisted in some areas. The sea-lamprey-selective pesticide TFM (3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol) was applied first in Lake Superior in 1958, because of the presence of remnant native lake trout populations, which set the stage for closure of fisheries and good survival of newly stocked and remnant wild fish. As a consequence of these four factors, stocked fish exceeded historical density of wild fish by the 1980s in many areas, and thereby generated enhanced reproductive potential when combined with remnant wild fish. Lake trout recovery in Lake Superior is an extraordinary example of agency cooperation toward a common goal for managing recovery of an ecologically important shared resource.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Restoration of Lake Trout in Lake Superior through Interagency Cooperative Management
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 25 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title From catastrophe to recovery: stories of fish management success
First page 385
Last page 409
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Lake Superior
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table