Feasibility of Rehabilitating and Supplementing Fisheries by Stocking Lake Whitefish in the Upper Great Lakes

Grant: # 1822

Grant Amount: $19,999.84

Board Decision Year: 2018

Quantitative Fisheries Center, Michigan State University - Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (East Lansing)

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Bence, Jim ([email protected]) 517-281-3480

2018 Ecosystem Health and Sustainable Fish Populations: Lake Whitefish Recruitment - Ecological and biological fisheries research to inform management

Project Details

In Lake Michigan, reported lake whitefish yields peaked at around 7.9 million pounds in 1996. Yield declined and appeared to fluctuate between 4 and 6 million pounds, without a strong trend, during 2002-2012. Starting in 2013, reported yield steadily declined. Researchers at the MSU Quantitative Fisheries Center synthesized available information to evaluate the feasibility of stocking lake whitefish to rehabilitate or supplement fisheries in the Great Lakes. 

The findings, based on an analysis of existing literature, suggest that stocking lake whitefish as summer fingerlings would not be cost-effective because the enhanced production of this earlier stage is not sufficient to compensate for the likely low survival rates. Given published survival data, stocking at fall fingerling or yearling life stages would be more viable alternatives. Under best estimates of survival, the hatchery costs associated with producing one pound of lake whitefish in Lake Michigan is about $8. The costs to produce a pound of fish in Lake Huron would be higher. 



Final Report
View - 2018.1822_Bence_MSU_Final_Report.pdf