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Dynamics of lake trout production in the main basin of Lake Huron

August 6, 2020

To inform lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) fishery management in Lake Huron that has undergone rapid ecosystem changes, we quantified lake trout production dynamics by coupling age-structured stock assessment and fish bioenergetics models. Our approach revealed the connection between piscivore production and prey consumption, included growth compensation to reproduction losses, and allowed comparisons between long-term dynamics of fishery harvests and fish production. We found that despite the collapse of alewives, a major non-native pelagic prey fish, lake trout production appeared to be sustainable. To a certain degree, the effect of recent recruitment declines on lake trout production was offset by release of harvest pressure from subadult lake trout, and reduction of fishing and sea lamprey induced mortality on adult lake trout. Evidence for sustainability also included the finding that no changes in average ratios of annual production to beginning-of-the-year biomass. Juvenile P:B ratio remained as high as 2.1. The effect of growth declines on adult and subadult production was offset by reduction in population mortality. Body growth and condition did not continue to decline when lake trout became more and more reliant on round goby as food, and the dynamics of total consumption of prey fish continued to be recipient controlled.

Publication Year 2020
Title Dynamics of lake trout production in the main basin of Lake Huron
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsaa030
Authors Ji X. He, James R. Bence, Charles P. Madenjian, Randall M. Claramunt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title ICES Journal of Marine Science
Index ID 70211647
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center