Great Lakes commercial fisheries issues focus of Michigan Fish Producers Association meeting

Michigan Sea Grant will coordinate a daylong program addressing issues influencing commercial fishing on the Great Lakes at annual fish producers meeting.

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 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, 2014 as part of the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme.

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 status and management of Great Lakes lake whitefish stocks in the 1836 Treaty Waters of Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan will be reviewed.
  • In Lake Michigan, prey fish populations are an important part of the lower food web and research on their status and trends will be presented.
  • In recent years, there has been much discussion on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes fisheries. Since Great Lakes whitefish are the most commercially harvested fish, there will be discussion on designing a climate change decision-support tool for harvest management of Great Lakes whitefish.
  • Millions of dollars are spent each year for sea lamprey control, which is necessary to keep the population of this invasive species suppressed to reduce mortality on valuable Great Lakes fishes. A presentation of new techniques for sea lamprey control will be presented, including one method using a natural repellant. There is also the belief that lake whitefish, which sustains the Great Lakes commercial fishery are being impacted by sea lamprey at higher rates than previously thought.
  • Another invasive fish species, the Asian carp, in the near future could invade the Great Lakes, and an update will be given on the status of these carps.
  • Michigan Sea Grant recently completed an aquaculture integrated assessment project and the results will be presented as there may be future partnerships and opportunities in this area for the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry.
  • There have been recent changes in the Seafood HACCP regulation and an update will be given on several new critical control points that Great Lakes commercial fish processors must address in their HACCP plans.
  • The Great Lakes region has a rich heritage in commercial fishing. New efforts are underway in a Great Lakes Heritage Consortium that will focus on establishing a statewide Michigan Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail.

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

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