Lake Huron Committee
Holiday Inn Downtown Waterfront
19 March 1996
1. Lake Sturgeon Access to Streams
In March 1995, the LHC agreed to inform the GLFC to be aware of sturgeon passage requirements in the Barrier Dam Program. The LHC was informed that the GLFC is considering this on all barriers. However, technology may not allow the sturgeon to pass trap and transfer may be required.
2. Lake Trout Issues
a. Rehabilitation Guide A draft lake trout rehabilitation guide has been prepared by the LHTC and presented to the LHC. The LHC has agreed to review and send comments to the LHC chairman who will collate and return document to the LHTC. LHC comments due by May 1. Target date for final draft is the summer meeting of the LHTC.
b. Seneca Strain Preference In March 1995, the LHC recommended increasing the proportion of Seneca strain lake trout in the rehabilitation strategy. In 1996, approximately 500,000 Seneca yearlings will be available for stocking. Priority will be: Refuge, 6 Fathom Bank, and northernmost stocking sites.
c. EEDV Diagnostic/Isolation Facility The GLFC has recently (February 16, 1996) written the National Biological Service (Leetown) requesting NBS give priority attention to developing a diagnostic tool for EEDV. The LHC supports this action and asks the GLFC to continue in this effort.
d. 6 Fathom Bank Refuge Proposal Both Michigan and Ontario are continuing in their efforts to designate the 6 Fathom Bank area as a lake trout refuge. Both agencies are seeking designation by 1997.
e. Exchange of eggs/fish between U.S./Canada Last year the LHTC was asked to examine the potential for cross-border transportation of lake trout eggs/yearlings for stocking purposes. Given the current difficulty with budgets, logistics, etc., coupled with new information on the already wide distribution of lake trout stocked under existing plans, the LHC considers this issue low priority for the immediate future.
f. Genetic Origin of 6 Fathom Bank Recruits The LHC had requested that NBS conduct research to determine the genetic origin of the wild recruits collected on 6 Fathom Bank. The LHC was informed that Mary Burnham-Curtis (NBS) has recently submitted a proposal for Federal Aid to conduct this research; in the meantime she is progressing slowly using program funds.
g. Evaluation of Increased Size at Stocking The LHC had asked the LHTC to develop a plan to evaluate potential differences in survival between the larger (10-12/lb) yearlings now being produced in the federal hatcheries, and "normal" yearlings (20/lb). The LHTC prepared a strategy which will address both this question along with examining movements from various stocking sites. Four stocking sites will be included using eight unique lot numbers, and both sizes of fish at each site.
h. Early Life History Experiments (astroturf, fry stocking) The LHTC has prepared a study plan including two potential sites: Nordmere Reef (near Alpena) and Spectacle/Reynolds (MH-1). In 1995, the LHC asked NBS to use their side scan sonar technology to map these reefs and help determine which would be most suitable. However, NBS was unable to conduct the research and the astroturf experiment for 1995 was canceled.
The LHC remains committed to early life history experiments. Surplus eggs will be available for Lake Huron in 1997. In the meantime, the LHC will again request side scan sonar work be conducted on the two above mentioned reefs: Nordmere Reef would receive first priority if it looks favorable. Also, the agencies will have to develop a logistical plan for conducting the astroturf work which included personnel, costs, assessment, setting and retrieval, vessels, etc.
The LHC also discussed the feasibility of stocking fry as opposed to astroturf. Since the astroturf approach is very costly and labor intensive, fry stocking may present a much cheaper alternative.
Action: The LHC asked the LHTC to examine the feasibility of stocking fry in Lake Huron.
3. Fish Valuation for IMSL
The LHC restated its request for agencies to supply the LHTC with their methods for valuating various fish species.
4. Post Sea Lamprey Attack Survival
In recent years, the LHC and LHTC have discussed the need for information on post sea lamprey attack survival on predator species other than lake trout (e.g. burbot, chinook salmon). Bill Swink (NBS) has completed such a study on burbot and is proposing to conduct a similar study using chinook salmon. The LHC agreed to assist in whatever way possible.
5. Predator Stocking/SIMPLE Model
Jim Bence gave a status report on the work he conducted last year and what he thought needs to be done to develop a bioenergetics model for Lake Huron. The LHC supported continuation of this project and reiterated their concern regarding predator stocking levels. Jim will prepare an outline of the steps necessary to continue with this project. The LHC will review and inform Jim of what aspects we would like him to address given time and funding constraints.
Action: The LHC requests funding from the GLFC "Coordinators Activities" program to continue working toward development of a SIMPLE model for Lake Huron. The magnitude and specifics of the request to the GLFC will be based on the LHC's review of Jim's outline.
Action: The LHTC will review burbot and predator diet collection needs and standardize collection procedures.
6. Lakewide Creel
The group discussed the progress made by the Lake Michigan Technical Committee in developing a lakewide creel database.
Action: The LHC asked the LHTC to develop a lakewide creel "template" for Lake Huron which the agencies may use if funding permits.
7. Lakewide Databases
Tom Gorenflo (COTFMA) expressed concern that certain lakewide databases were falling behind, in particular, the stocking database. He volunteered to collect all agencies stocking information going back to 1988 and incorporate it into the existing GLFC database. Jerry McClain, from the Fishery Resource Office in Alpena, stated that he had already begun compiling such stocking data. If funding permits, the LHC supports the FROs in compiling and maintaining the Great Lakes stocking databases. It will be necessary for the FROs from each of the lakes to coordinate their efforts to maintain consistency. For Lake Huron, LHC members from Michigan and Ontario will ask their computer operators whether they can print stocking information in the desired format and send it to Jerry McClain. Once compiled, upper lake stocking data will be distributed to all agencies.
8. LHTC Terms of Reference
The LHC and LHTC chairmen have independently developed similar draft terms of reference for the LHTC.
Action: Ron Desjardine (LHC-OMNR) will work on finalizing the Terms of Reference using these drafts. Included will be language outlining membership and liaison participation.
9. LHTC Annual Report Format
LHTC Chairman (Dave McCleish - OMNR) suggested alternating the annual report between a "State of the Lake Report" and "thematic" report. The LHC suggested the LHTC not feel forced to present a thematic presentation, but produce one when a theme is appropriate. However, when a theme is going to be presented, the LHC requested that a short report on "State of the Lake" highlights be included.
10. Attendance by First Nation Observers at LHTC meetings
The LHC discussed this issue at length and agreed that the issue required more deliberation. The LHC will revisit this issue in the near future.
11. GLFC Budget Projection - Canadian proposal
Vic Gillman (DFO) explained DFO's intention to drastically reduce funding for the GLFC hence sea lamprey control. Reductions will begin in 1996, but due to "carry-over" control efforts should not be affected. However, there will be little or no support for the program in 1997 or thereafter. The LHC is also concerned that Canadian policy changes may also impact U.S. funding sources. In recent years, sea lamprey control funding has become a year-to-year crises situation with both governments after nearly 40 years of consistent support. The LHC views this as an unacceptable situation which requires a long-term strategy to overcome funding uncertainties.
Action: The LHC will draft a letter to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing our concern regarding DFO's decision. LHC member agencies are also encouraged to write a letter to Foreign Affairs.
Action: The LHC also recommends the CLC discuss alternative funding sources in the event the Canadian shortfall becomes reality and similar problems develop with U.S. funding support.
12. LHTC Chairmanship
The LHC welcomes Dave McCleish (OMNR) as the new LHTC chairman. The LHC also recognizes the outstanding contribution made by Mark Ebener (COTFMA) who served as chairman for nearly 5 years.