A perspective on needed research, modeling, and management approaches that can enhance Great Lakes fisheries management under changing ecosystem conditions

Kristen M. DeVanna Fussell, Ralph E.H. Smith, Michael E. Fraker, Leon Boegman, Kenneth T. Frank, Thomas J. Miller, Jeff T. Tyson, Kristin K. Arend, Daniel Boisclair, Stephanie J. Guildford, Robert E. Hecky, Tomas O. Hӧӧk, Olaf P. Jensen, Joel K. Llopiz, Cassandra J. May, Raymond G. Najjar, Lars G. Rudstam, Christopher T. Taggart, Yerubandi R. Rao, Stuart A. Ludsin

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The Great Lakes Fishery Commission sponsored a 2-day workshop that sought to enhance the ability of Great Lakes agencies to understand, predict, and ideally manage fisheries production in the face of changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings (e.g., climate, invasive species, and nutrients). The workshop brought together 18 marine and freshwater researchers with collective expertise in aquatic ecology, physical oceanography, limnology, climate modeling, and ecosystem modeling, and two individuals with fisheries management expertise. We report on the outcome of a writing exercise undertaken as part of this workshop that challenged each participant to identify three needs, which if addressed, could most improve the ability of Great Lakes agencies to manage their fisheries in the face of ecosystem change. Participant responses fell into two categories. The first identified gaps in ecological understanding, including how physical and biological processes can regulate early life growth and survival, how life-history strategies vary across species and within populations, and how anthropogenic stressors (e.g., nutrient runoff, climate change) can interact to influence fish populations. The second category pointed to the need for improved approaches to research (e.g., meta-analytic, comparative, spatial translation) and management (e.g., mechanistic management models, consideration of multi-stock management), and also identified the need for improved predictive models of the physical environment and associated ecosystem monitoring programs. While some progress has been made toward addressing these needs, we believe that a continued focus will be necessary to enable optimal fisheries management responses to forthcoming ecosystem change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-752
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


  • Climate change
  • Fish recruitment
  • Non-native species
  • Physical–biological coupling
  • Trophic state change


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