Click to edit Master text styles
-Adopted in 1992 by LHC after public and agency review
-Published by the GLFC---Special publication # 95-1
Ecosystem mgmt-lake must be
managed as a whole ecosystem;all species and their habitats are
Habitat preservation and restoration must be
foremost in ecosystem approach
Amounts of fish available for
harvest, even in healthy systems, is limited by basic productivity
communities based on naturally reproducing natives provide predictable,
sustainable fisheries with minimal long-term cost to society
fish however are essential for continuing progress in restoring balanced
fish communities, for developing spawning populations, and for providing
Introduced(naturalized) species which are
reproducing must be viewed as parts of the community; a complete return to
pristine conditions(natives only) is not practical; all introductions must be
carefully considered and the risks as well as benefits must be weighed;
unintentional releases/ introductions of exotic species are probably
the greatest threat to the Lake Huron ecosystem at this time.
Rare and endangered native species
add to the richness of the fish community and should be protected in
recognition of their ecological and intrinsic values( lake sturgeon
or the presence of
fish species contributes balance and
stability within fish communities. Genetic diversity
, both within and among
likewise, contributes to
overall species fitness and adaptability. Managers have a responsibility to
species and genetic diversity
through protection of adapted stocks. This includes care in the selection and
stocking of particular strains of fish species already introduced.
, such as providing opportunities
to meet recreational and commercial fishing interests are a priority in
Fisheries are a priceless cultural heritage
Therefore, the social, cultural and economic costs and benefits to
society(both present and future) are important factors in making sound
resource management decisions. The right to share in the heritage includes a
should be based on the best
available science tempered by societal needs.
Hurons main basin fish community was
dominated by lake trout, whitefish groups, burbot and sculpins Deepwater
ciscoes, herring(cisco) and sculpins served as the primary forage of trout and
The fish community in
nearshore waters was more highly varied and consisted of walleye, suckers,
smallmouth and largemouth bass, pike, muskellunge, sturgeon and catfish.
Ninety-two species of fish representing 24 families are on record as having
occurred at some time in the lake proper. Of the 92 species, 77 are thought to
be indigenous. There are 18(ruffe, goby)????
non-indigenous species including the very destructive sea lamprey.
Several species are now either extinct (or thought to be) including
exploitation of the fishery followed by sea lamprey predation and habitat
destruction, especially in tributaries and certain embayments, and exotic
species invasions(planned or unplanned)
lead to radical changes in the fish community
by the early
1900s. The fishery which was largely commercial then, however, was relatively
stable from 1912-1940.
The current fish community is still in
but is somewhat stable with stocked trout and salmon(replacing
the native lake trout) supported by alewives and smelt (replacing deepwater
chubs and herring). Modest walleye and perch recoveries are continuing.
implies that the fish community would exhibit
maturity and stability through the dominance of top predators most valued
after by the public.
The 8.9 million kg
objective is the recorded
harvest from the lake from 1912-1940, and is considered the best long-term
harvest measure of sustainable harvest based on the constraints of the lakes
morphometry and chemistry.
Species mix/Fishing Opportunities
fish community can be described by its species mix, those qualities(stability,
balance, sustainability, and diversity) which enable it to persist and by
measures of fishing opportunities(human needs) it offers. Generally, public
attention (and it follows the agencies attention) is focused on harvest.
numbers and species composition are strongly influenced by habitat
features---for example most of Huron is deep and cold except for some embayments---features
that are beyond human control.
management of fish populations and habitat is limited. Habitats can be
rehabilitated to some degree nearshore and in tributaries but not offshore.
Beyond the near shore managers can exert an influence through
fishing regulations, stocking and sea
lamprey control. However, management actions are inexact. Stocking for example
can produce short term gains that are difficult to sustain long-term.
we have had little influence
on the rate of introduction of exotics. Probably the greatest
impacts(alteration of the food webs) by exotics are just beginning to be
2000 and 2010
Fish Community Objective Reviews-
because FCOs for an entire lake cannot be taken to a high degree of
exactness, fishery management
are limited, and management
initiatives aimed at achieving objectives will have a large
experimental component, 2000 and 2010 are priority years for review.
There is international consensus
that lake trout should play a prominent role along with other strains of trout
and salmon as top predators.
While the re-establishment of
lakewide, self-sustaining populations of lake trout are still an open
question, agencies will continue to stock trout and salmon to provide a
fishery. You will hear about remnant populations of lake trout today that are
self-sustaining in Canadian waters.
Some viable walleye stocks exist
and only need to be maintained. Others(Saginaw Bay and Georgian Bay) are
Yellow perch are widely
distributed and an important sport and commercial species. Recent year class
fluctuations, especially in main basin stocks have caused downswings in catch
but perch fisheries in Saginaw Bay and elsewhere have remained relatively
strong. Managing for healthy perch fisheries may mean conservative harvest
continue to be a
premium eating fish of the Great lakes and a corner stone of commercial
fisheries for more than a century. Recent landings continue to be some of the
highest on record for the main basin, North channel and outer Saginaw Bay. The
Georgian Bay fishery is still recovering.
bloaters, are the main inhabitant of the deeper waters of the lake and the
only form still abundant. The other deepwater form, the shortjaw, is now
probably extinct. Bloater numbers have declined recently from
the high levels noted through the 1980s
and early 1990s but the population is still considered robust.
numbers have not recovered in the main basin.They have been replaced
by alewives and smelt. They were a historically valuable food fish and prey
species. Some populations persist in the northern portion of the lake and its
hoped they may be the basis of a future recovery for this species..
The smallmouth bass is the most
abundant and popular of the sunfish group and is common in nearshore waters
and bays. Smallmouth numbers typically fluctuate with raising and lowering
Lake sturgeon has an exceedingly
long generation time and is consequently vulnerable to overfishing. In Huron
sturgeon were historically quite abundant but by 1910 populations were greatly
reduced. One of the keys to increasing sturgeon numbers, in addition to
protecting adults from overfishing, is reestablishing fish passage to spawning
and nursery habitats for this species in
tributaries blocked by dams.
Deepwater ciscoe(bloaters), sculpins,
lake herring, smelt, and alewives constitute the bulk of the prey biomass
availible to trout and salmon in the colder deeper areas of the lake.
smelt, gizzard shad, spottail, emerald shiners, young whitefish, and yellow
perch, and now goby(Saginaw Bay) are important seasonally in the diets of
With the majority of prey species not being controlled by
either predation nor fishing, abundance usually varies within wide limits.
Species diversity(including prey species) imparts some overall stability to
the prey base by minimizing effects of year-to-year variations within single
Overall balance implied in the prey objective is normally
achieved by manipulating predator numbers through harvest controls and
Northern pike will provide most
of the pike and muskellunge harvest objective as they are far more common than
muskellunge. As catch and release becomes more popular, harvest objectives
should be revisited.
Preservation and enhancement of spawning/nursery
habitat for both species is the most critical need.
There is recent evidence that flathead
catfish are becoming established in some portions of Saginaw Bay. They will
could add excitement to local fisheries because they can attain larger sizes
than channels. They are also extremely efficient predators.
Fish community objectives are predicated
on a high level of sea lamprey control. Lake trout are one of the primary
targets of lamprey. The St. Marys River produces more sea lamprey than all
Great lakes tributaries combined. The integrated pest control strategy
developed for the St. Marys river and implemented the late 1990s needs to be
evaluated and maintained. Recent US and
Canadian budget increases for the GLFC should insure continued control on the
St. Marys and other top larval producing streams across the basin.
is the home of at least 92 fish species and 77 are believed to be indigenous.
These species contribute to the value and ecological diversity of the fish
Many exotic species are not likely to enhance the present
fish community and some may in fact displace natives or disrupt food webs.
Therefore unplanned introductions of
exotics should be avoided.
The Lake and Technical committees have
been directed by the SPMGLF to develop FCOs and EOs for each lake. As
yet EOs have not yet been completed
for Huron. An international GIS-based habitat mapping project
currently underway on Huron will greatly assist in providing the tools for completing ECOs.
LHC/LHTC members have been working with environmental agencies, NGOs and the
public recently in the development of the Lake Huron Initiative.This
has generated a list of environmental issues and priorities for Huron
including the need to inventory GLs fisheries habitat.