Lake Erie Stakeholder Group Offers Recommendations on Walleye Harvest Management


Since November 2010 the QFC has facilitated and conducted technical (Management Strategy Evaluation) analyses for a group of Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fishery stakeholders. The group, known as the Lake Erie Percid Management Advisory Group (LEPMAG) has met nine times and discussed objectives, options and uncertainties for the walleye and yellow perch fisheries in Lake Erie. In the intervals between these meetings the QFC team (co-Director Mike Jones, Research Associate Matt Catalano, Graduate Student Lisa Peterson, and former Graduate Student Aaron Berger) have developed and refined models to assess past population and harvest dynamics for walleye stocks (assessment models) and to forecast future dynamics and fishery performance (forecasting models). Their results have then been used to inform discussions of improvements to walleye management at the LEPMAG meetings. At the most recent meeting the LEPMAG reached consensus on several recommendations for changes to the assessment model used to inform decisions about walleye harvest in Lake Erie, and on adoption of a reference-point based harvest policy for the future. These recommendations were shared with the Lake Erie fishery managers at this meeting. The group did not reach consensus on a new harvest control rule, but urged managers to use LEPMAG’s deliberations to inform their decisions about quotas for walleye harvest in 2013 and going forward. LEPMAG participants have expressed strong support for the value of this process for increasing transparency in the management process and thereby building greater trust among managers and stakeholders. The group is now shifting their attention to yellow perch and will be meeting to discuss this fishery several times during the coming year, following the same approach as has been taken for walleye.


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