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Resurgence of Cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Lake Michigan

Claramunt, Randall M., Smith, Jason, Donner, Kevin, Povolo, Annalise, Herbert, Matthew E., Galarowicz, Tracy, Claramunt, Tracy L., DeBoe, Scott, Stott, Wendylee, Jonas, Jory L.
Journal of Great Lakes research 2019 v.45 no.4 pp. 821-829
Coregonus artedi, basins, data collection, fisheries, gillnets, monitoring, netting, surveys, Lake Michigan
In recent decades, many factors that were linked with the decline of Great Lakes cisco (Coregonus artedi) populations have subsided. The goal of this study was to investigate where cisco exist in Lake Michigan and evaluate evidence for recovery including when, where, and to what extent it is occurring. We evaluated datasets from several independent monitoring efforts that did and did not target cisco. We also evaluated trends in commercial and recreational catches of cisco. Across these datasets, there was strong evidence of a sustained recovery of cisco stocks that began in Lake Michigan in the mid-2000s. Fall gill net surveys and commercial fisheries provided reasonable indications of a population recovery in the northeast by 2011. Further south, Ludington Pump Storage barrier net monitoring also recorded increasing numbers of cisco starting in 2011. Recreational harvest estimates were valuable in evaluating spatial distributions but were less valuable as an early signal of abundance shifts. Measures of the recreational harvest of cisco most notably increased in 2014. The highest catch rates and harvest occurred in Grand Traverse Bay and northern Lake Michigan as evidenced by recreational, commercial, and fall netting surveys. Observations of cisco are expanding and have increased in intensity along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan south to Muskegon in both fishery dependent and independent surveys. The similarity in trends from all data sources indicate that cisco abundance has increased, and their range within the basin continues to expand.