Project 1.4 (more commonly known as the 'Freshwater' Node) of the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN) held a workshop on December 15-16, 2015 in the Summerlee Science Complex at the University of Guelph. The objective of the workshop was to familiarize a large and diverse group of invited Great Lakes fisheries experts from academia, government, and governance and stakeholder organizations with the research conducted by Project 1.4 over the past five years. A second objective was to begin discussions around possible future collaborative initiatives to succeed Project 1.4. The workshop was organized by Project 1.4 Leader Professor Tom Nudds and the various members of the Node with the assistance of the CFRN Implementation Team. The invited workshop attendees numbered around 30 individuals representing a wide range of organizations including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), Ontario Commercial Fisheries' Association (OCFA), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre (AOFRC), Carleton University, and the Universities of Ottawa, Waterloo, Guelph and New Brunswick.

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CFRN Principal Investigator, Rob Stephenson, gives a presentation on post-CFRN initiatives and opportunities for future research collaboration.

Day 1 was focused on presenting the Great Lakes fishery research accomplishments of Freshwater Node members Allan Debertin, David Gislason, Dr. Kevin Reid, Dr. Katrine Trugeon and Dr. Fan Zhang. CFRN Principal Investigator, Dr. Rob Stephenson, gave a talk about the origins, structure and governance of the CFRN and the CFRN Framework for a Comprehensive Evaluation of Fisheries Sustainability. This talk was followed by wide-ranging discussions about the applicability of the framework to the Great Lakes Basin. Day 1 also included a panel discussion by Brian Locke (MNRF), Peter Meisenheimer (AOFRC) and Dr. Steve Cooke (Carleton University), who offered their thoughts on the accomplishments of the CFRN and the Great Lakes initiative including what was missing or needed improvement in the design of future national fisheries research network.

Day 2 began with Rob Stephenson giving a talk on a 'CFRN 2.0' proposal in which he described a framework for the next version of the CFRN with strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity for fisheries management decision-making in times of rapid change. Kevin Reid followed with the presentation of a 'strawman' proposal for a case study titled: An interdisciplinary approach to building a decision support system for wicked fisheries problems. Intended for discussion purposes only, the strawman case study proposal focused on the complex, uncertain and highly ambiguous problem of sustainable management of the multi-species Lake Huron fishery. The strawman generated much discussion about interdisciplinarity, wicked problems related to fisheries (in general and specifically, the Lake Huron example), and the characteristics of decision support systems for dealing with such situations.

Break out groups were then formed to discuss, critique and provide input to the proposed 'CFRN 2.0' project. Against the backdrops of the earlier presentations and discussions, participants were invited to provide critical reviews of the proposal and/or provide ideas for additonal research problems that could be advanced for another round of network funding. Reports back to the workshop plenary consistently suggested that the Lake Huron case study proposal lacks some important aspects and details but is appropriate for further development. There was a general consensus that a next step is to form a small group to develop a proposal for the funding of a strategic workshop designed to bring together the best natural and social scientists, in Canada and abroad, to refine the proposal and prepare it for submission to a suitable agency or group of agencies for their consideration.

Thanks to all those busy folks who took the time to travel to Guelph for the workshop. Special thanks to the CFRN and the Implementation Team for sponsoring the event.

The Ontario Commercial Fisheries' Association is a non-profit organization working on behalf of its members to support the success of the commercial fishing industry in Ontario.