Andvik, R.T., B.L. Sloss, J.A. VanDeHey, R.M. Claramunt, S.P. Hansen, and D.A. Isermann. 2016. Mixed stock analysis of Lake Michigan's lake whitefish commercial fishery. Journal of Great Lakes Research 42: 660-667.
Lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) support the primary commercial fishery in Lake Michigan. Discrete genetic stocks of lake whitefish have been identified and tagging data suggest stocks are mixed throughout much of the year. Our objectives were to determine if (1) differential stock harvest occurs in the commercial catch, (2) spatial differences in genetic composition of harvested fish were present, and (3) seasonal differences were present in the harvest by commercial fisheries that operate in management zones WI-2 and WFM-01 (Green Bay, Lake Michigan). Mixed stock analysis was conducted on 17 commercial harvest samples (n = 78–145/sample) collected from various ports lake-wide during 2009–2010. Results showed significant mixing with variability in stock composition across most samples. Samples consisted of two to four genetic stocks each accounting for ≥10% the catch. In 10 of 17 samples, the stock contributing the largest proportion made up b60% of the harvest. In general, seasonal and annual differences existed in the proportional stock contribution at a single capture location. Samples from Wisconsin's primary commercial fishing management zone (WI-2) were composed predominately of fish fromthe Big Bay deNoc (Michigan) stock as opposed to the geographically proximate, North–Moonlight Bay (Wisconsin) stock. These findings have implications for management and allocation of fish to various quotas. Specifically, geographic location of harvest, the current means of allocating harvest quotas, is not the best predictor of genetic stock harvest.