Great Lakes commercial fisheries issues featured at conference

Michigan Sea Grant presenting daylong program during Michigan Fish Producers Association meeting.

Commercial harvest of lake whitefish from Lake Huron. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Commercial harvest of lake whitefish from Lake Huron. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension will be coordinating a daylong educational program on current issues affecting the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry. The program will run from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2016, as part of the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Mich.

Topics will include:

  • Since commercial fishers require deepwater access to the lakes for their fishery businesses, the impacts of changing water levels on the Great Lakes will be discussed. The upper Great Lakes have made a remarkable recovery from extremely low water levels to above average water levels in a very short duration.
  • The status and management of Great Lakes lake whitefish stocks in the 1836 Treaty Waters of Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan will be reviewed. The state of Michigan and the five tribes that fish under the 1836 treaty work together to manage the valuable lake whitefish fishery for both tribal and state licensed fishers.
  • In Lake Michigan, prey fish populations are an important part of the lower food web and research by U.S. Geological Survey on their status and trends will be presented.
  • Commercial fishing is the most dangerous profession. New regulations are on the horizon for Great Lakes commercial fishers that will require special training to meet new U.S. Coast Guard requirements. This training will require boat captains to become familiar with various safety equipment and how to deal with emergencies at sea. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard will present on the inspection process, applicable policies, and pending changes.
  • Great Lakes weather forecasting is much different from forecasts of other regions of the country. The National Weather Service will present on weather forecasting especially as it relates to commercial fishing on the Great Lakes.
  • Cormorant management in the Great Lakes continues. Years ago these birds, which consume large quantities of fish, had populations that were largely unchecked. The U.S. Department of Agriculture-APHIS will discuss strategies for keeping cormorant populations more manageable.
  • The Great Lakes commercial fishery generates large amounts of fish waste after the fish are processed. Dramm Corporation will discuss how they use this waste to make valuable liquid fish fertilizer.
  • Great Lakes commercial fish processors ensure the safety of their fish products through the Seafood HACCP program. New critical control points will be discussed that fish processors need to address in their Seafood HACCP plans.

There is no charge for attending this event. For a detailed agenda, visit the Michigan Sea Grant website.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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