Great Lakes commercial fisheries to be discussed at Michigan Fish Producers Association meeting

Michigan Sea Grant will present a daylong program addressing issues influencing commercial fishing on the Great Lakes. Topics include lake water levels, management of lake whitefish stocks, and invasive species.

Michigan Sea Grant 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 26, 2013 as part of the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City.

Topics will include:

  •  Since commercial fishers require deepwater access to the lakes for their fishery business, the impacts of the extreme low water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron, and low water level implications for commercial fishers will be discussed.
  • The status and management of 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 Lake Huron, research on lake whitefish diets and potential bottlenecks to recruitment is going to be discussed.
  • 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 are being impacted by sea lamprey at higher rates than previously thought, with sea lamprey and lake whitefish interaction studies being planned.
  • Double crested cormorants consume large quantities of fish in the Great Lakes and, in recent years, there have been efforts to bring down the populations to a more manageable level. Techniques used in these management strategies will be discussed.
  • Commercial fishers know from experience that the Great Lakes can be a very hostile environment as the weather on the water can change in an instant. Marine forecasts are important for the safety of commercial fishers and the National Weather Service will discuss the challenges of Great Lakes weather forecasting.
  • The Great Lakes region has a rich heritage in commercial fishing. New efforts are underway in a Statewide Fisheries History Consortium that will focus on heritage, tourism, and education through historic commercial fishing vessels.

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

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