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Evaluation of potential sources of sauger Sander canadensis for reintroduction into Lake Erie

November 5, 2019

Sauger (Sander canadensis) supported recreational and commercial fisheries in Lake Erie until the fishery collapsed in the early-1950s, with extirpation of sauger occurring soon after. Previous attempts to rebuild populations via stocking programs were unsuccessful, and the reasons for lack of success are unclear. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife is re-examining the feasibility of reintroducing sauger because the current fish community and habitat conditions appear more suitable for sauger survival and proliferation. Selecting potential sources for reintroduction programs requires consideration of several factors. Donor and recipient ecosystems and life histories should be similar, the source population should have sufficient genetic diversity to withstand losses in diversity associated with hatchery practices, and the source and donor populations should have similar genetic diversity metrics and should be accessible while broodstock is developed. A review of the literature and a genetic analysis of historical sauger collections from Lake Erie and contemporary samples from possible donor populations in five different watersheds was performed to evaluate potential candidate sources for a re-introduction program. We compared genetic diversity, life history parameters, and ecosystem conditions of historical Lake Erie sauger to contemporary sauger populations from the Ohio River (Bellville, Meldahl, and New Cumberland pools), Missouri River, Ottawa River, Lake of the Woods, and Lake Winnebago. While life history and ecological conditions were similar across populations, there was genetic differentiation among potential donor sources and historical collections of sauger from Lake Erie, with contemporary populations from the Ohio River being most like historic Lake Erie sauger.

Publication Year 2019
Title Evaluation of potential sources of sauger Sander canadensis for reintroduction into Lake Erie
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2019.09.027
Authors Travis Hartman, Jeff Tyson, Kevin Page, Wendylee Stott
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Great Lakes Research
Index ID 70206465
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center