Holiday Inn
Grand Island, NY
31 March – 1 April 1999

Executive Summary


1. Walleye Task Group

The LEC approved for 1999 a Recommended Allowable Harvest of 9 million walleye.

Standing Technical Committee charges to the Walleye Task Group were updated as follows:

1)  Use the SWIM model to evaluate the long-term effect of various management strategies on sustainability of walleye
Chairship Role: Mark Turner (ODNR) to be joined by Don MacLennan (OMNR)

2. Yellow Perch Task Group

The LEC approved for 1999 a Recommended Allowable Harvest of 6.5 million pounds of yellow perch: 2.3 million lbs. in MU1, 3.0 million lbs. in MU2, 1.1+ million lbs. in MU3, and 0.4 million lbs. in MU4.

Standing Technical Committee charges to the Yellow Perch Task Group were updated as follows:

1)  Maintain and update centralized time series data sets required for population models or use for the monitoring of dynamics of yellow perch stocks including fishing effort, harvest, growth, maturity, recruitment and fecundity schedules and agency or interagency abundance indices.

3. Forage Task Group

The LEC supported a Forage Task Group recommendation for a standardized lower trophic level sampling program, submitting a proposal for funding to support same.

The Standing Technical Committee’s charges to the Forage Task Group was updated as follows:

1)  Continue to describe the status and trends of forage fish species and invertebrates in 1997 for each basin of Lake Erie.

2)  Continue the investigation and analyses regarding the utility of the interagency trawl program:

a)  Support the use of SCANMAR equipment for interagency calibration of assessment trawling gear. Continue the development of an experimental design to facilitate forage assessment.  Recommend a standard reporting format for trawl catch per effort data.

b)  Continue trawl catch simulations to select appropriate measures of central tendency expressing species’ abundance.

c)  Complete statistical evaluation of species CPE indices and effects upon sampling from physical and environmental features.

1)  Conduct bioenergetics simulations to estimate consumption of smelt and other prey fish by predators in the central and eastern basins.

2)  Complete bioenergetics analysis in 1999

4)  Develop a hydroacoustics program to assess important forage fish stocks in the central and eastern basin. Plan should include sampling schedule, protocol, implementation costs, objectives as well as agency staff and vessel requirements.

5)  Develop strategy for and implement coordinated lower trophic levels monitoring.
Chairship: Don Einhouse (NYDEC) resigns co-chair role, Jeff Tyson (ODNR) continues co-chair role and Tim Johnson (OMNR) assumes co-chair role

4. Coldwater Task Group

The LEC took note of a Coldwater Task Group finding of increased sea lamprey attack rates and declining lake trout numbers.

The LEC supported a plan to coordinate lower trophic level assessment on Lake Erie.

The Standing Technical Committee’s charges to the Coldwater Task Group were revised as follows:

1)  Coordinate annual standardized lake trout assessment among all eastern basin agencies and report upon the status of lake trout rehabilitation.

2)  Continue to assess the whitefish and burbot population age structure, growth, diet, seasonal distribution and other population parameters.

3)  Continue to participate in the IMSL process on Lake Erie to outline and prescribe the needs of the Lake Erie sea lamprey management program.

4)  Maintain an annual interagency electronic database of Lake Erie salmonid stocking and current projections for the STC, GLFC and Lake Erie agency data depositories.

5)  Assist FTG with bioenergetics analysis of prey fish consumption by coldwater predators.

6)  Report on the status of rainbow trout in Lake Erie, including stocking numbers, strains being stocked, academic and resource agency research interests and related population parameters, including growth, diet and exploitation.

7)  New charge being developed regarding lake herring

Chairship: Current chair Chuck Murray (PFBC) to be joined by Phil Ryan (OMNR)

5. USGS RV Sturgeon

The LEC supports retrofit of the USGS RV Sturgeon.

6. Draft Habitat Declaration

The GLFC will provide Lake Committees with overview on GLFC, HAB and BOTE initiatives.

Larry Halyk (OMNR) and Dave Davies (OHDNR) will review the habitat declaration for the LEC, in preparation for a 21 April CLC discussion.

Concern and confusion was expressed. The LEC needs to choose and seek out its own technical support as needed, and not be tied to other initiatives that may not be useful for LEC purposes. Some perceived and objected to the GLFC telling them what to do. There was also a perception that rather than helping SGLFMP signatories, the declaration could be used against agencies. There was frustration in trying to reconcile and respond to the many habitat initiatives sent LEC members – a special meeting might be in order or the material needed to be packaged for context and easy review.

7. Environmental Objectives

Draft environmental objectives were approved for public discussion.

The LEC established an Environmental Task Group, to be chaired by Larry Halyk (OMNR). Members include Dave Davies (OHDNR), Bob Haas (MDNR), Roger Kenyon (PFBC), and Don Einhouse (NYDEC), Terms of reference are to be drafted for LEC consideration in June.

8. LEC Position Statement re Structuring Native Fish Communities in the Twenty-first Century

The Lake Erie Committee (LEC) has recently finalized its Lake Erie fish community goal stating, in part, “To secure a balanced, largely coolwater fish community, based upon a foundation of self-sustaining indigenous and naturalized species that occupies diverse habitats, provides valuable fisheries and reflects a healthy Lake Erie ecosystem.” The LEC has acknowledged the myriad of ecosystem disturbances over the past 165 years, including the reversal of nutrient enrichment during the past 30 years, which have resulted in the disparity between the current fish community and the goal.

The LEC’s concern over the rapid reversal of nutrient enrichment resulted in the issuance, in March 1998, of a position statement concerning lower trophic level changes and their implications to fish community composition and productivity in Lake Erie, and an “interim” position statement on phosphorus management in Lake Erie. The recent changes in trophic status, coupled with introductions of nonindigenous species, may be causing a shift in the lake’s energy flow from the pelagic zone to the benthic zone. In response, some native fish species, most notably whitefish and burbot, have experienced dramatic population increases. There has also been an obvious increase in abundance of small lake sturgeon and these fish community changes are creating much discussion within management agencies and among the publics for restoration of additional native fish species.

The LEC recognizes that reintroduction and restoration of indigenous fish species / stocks is a responsibility of the committee, which is comprised of representatives form the fishery management agencies of Ontario, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The LEC accepts this responsibility and will actively, and in a timely manner, address the potential, feasibility, biological implications, commercial and recreational fishing impacts and costs associated with restoration and rehabilitation of species such as lake sturgeon, lake herring, sauger, etc. The LEC may actively seek partners in pursuing restoration efforts, but the LEC will implement and coordinate all reintroduction and restoration programs approved by the five jurisdictional management agencies.

9. Community Assessment Task Group

Chair needed.

The Standing Technical Committee’s charges to the Community Assessment Task Group were updated as follows:

1.  Inventory the gill-net surveys being conducted on Lake Erie that may provide community information, summarize problems and issues, collect and summarize data that is used to convert data between surveys (i.e. multi:mono ratios).

2.  Develop a strategy (similar gear, correction factors etc.), to allow agencies to combine data and produce descriptions of population and community characteristics. Develop a database strategy (format, summary strategy etc).

3.  Identify useful products from the combined databases eg GM for age for perch, CPUE trends for YOY, YAO shad, total fish biomass and size spectrum, biodiversity measures; develop strategy for annual reporting. Produce a report to summarize protocol, agreements, strategies etc.

10. Walleye Tagging Study

Bob Haas (MDNR) will draft a white paper for a walleye tagging study to be conducted perhaps in 2001. The GLFC may be asked to administer with reward costs split among agencies. First-year costs might be $10K with smaller amounts in succeeding years.

11. Lake Erie Fish Community Objectives

The LEC approved its fish community objectives for release to the public and publication by the GLFC.

12. Lake St. Clair Fish Community Objectives

MDNR and OMNR will meet for one day the week of 13 September to revise the draft Lake St. Clair fish community objectives if needed, to devise a process for review, and to identify agencies and NGOs to review.

MDNR and OMNR are grateful to Ed Roseman for his efforts on the Lake St. Clair fish community objectives.

13. Communications Strategy

The LEC will take any concerns re the communications strategy to the CLC meeting.

14. Lake St. Clair Sturgeon

Mike Thomas (MDNR) and Don MacLennan (OMNR) will write a white paper on sturgeon status in Lake St. Clair.

15. Lake St. Clair Session

The LEC will propose at the CLC that the LHC, LEC, and LOC meet together in 2000 with a focus on connecting channels.

A Lake St. Clair Task Group was formed (Al Murray, Don MacLennan (OMNR), Bob Haas, Mike Thomas (MDNR). They are to develop terms of reference, and to commence plans for a one-day 2000 LEC session with presentations on fish community objectives, lower trophic levels, primary productivity etc.

16. CAGEAN Workshop

Don Einhouse (NYDEC, new STC chair) and Task Group Chairs for Yellow Perch and Walleye will organize a CAGEAN Workshop.

17. Officers

Bill Culligan (NYDEC) will serve as Chair through the 2002 meeting, and Rob MacGregor (OMNR) will serve as Vice Chair.


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