Lake Erie commercial and recreational anglers saw a decrease in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for perch when the Lake Erie Committee (LEC), composed of fishery managers from both sides of the lake, announced new quotas in late March.
Only one of Lake Erie’s four management units (MU), saw a TAC increase for perch.
Management Unit (MU) 1, waters west of Point Pelee, saw an increase of 20%. MU 2, which stretches from Point Pelee to Rondeau Bay, saw a 70% decrease. MUs 3 and 4, saw respective decreases of 15 and 20%.
“As a result of several years of poor recruitment, MNRF is concerned about the status of yellow perch in the central basin,” said Richard Drouin, lead management biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Lake Erie Management Unit.
That region of Lake Erie has experienced several years of poor hatches. The situation is serious enough in MU2 that it is approaching “lower sustainability limits.”
Drouin said factors contributing to the poor recruitment and survival of perch in the central basin include environmental stressors such as increased temperature and reduced oxygen, declines in forage species, increased predation, and competition for food driven by increased walleye abundance.
That same announcement saw the LEC increase the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for walleye by 20%. Drouin said the increase is being driven by good recruitment in 2015, 2018, and 2019.