Predicted Climate Change Effects on Fisheries Habitat and Production in the Great Lakes

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Project Summary

Great Lakes fishery managers and stakeholders have little information regarding how climate change could affect the management of recreationally and commercially important fisheries, which have been valued at more than $7 billion USD annually.  Our research has focused on how climate change could influence fish habitat (including water temperature, ice cover, and water levels) and ultimately fish production.  First, we explore the extent to which we can detect climate drivers in historical time series of phytoplankton and young fish production.  Next, we provide preliminary results from a regional climate forecast for 2043-2065.  Finally, we predict how this future climate could influence the consumption and growth of key fish species, including lake trout, Chinook salmon, lake whitefish, yellow perch, and steelhead trout.  We conclude our talk by discussing the management implications of our work and identifying additional research gaps.


Image: Little Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan - A. Miehls, USGS

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