There are about 300 lakes that are commercially fished in Manitoba. This report covers Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake Winnipegosis from which lake whitefish, northern pike, walleye, and yellow perch are primarily caught. In 2011-2012, total production of these four species in Manitoba lakes exceeded 8,830 tonnes. Walleye comprised more than half of the catch. Canada and the US are the main markets for Manitoba-caught walleye and lake whitefish. The main market for northern pike is France, and the main market for yellow perch is Wisconsin.
The lake fish caught in Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis include walleye, lake whitefish, northern pike, and yellow perch. Walleye stocks are abundant compared to historic levels in Lake Winnipeg, whereas the walleye stock has collapsed in Lake Winnipegosis. Very little is known about the stock status of the other species in any of the Manitoban lakes. Walleye, northern pike and lake whitefish have life history characteristics that make them moderately vulnerable to fishing pressure. Yellow perch have a low vulnerability to fishing pressure.
Management of the Great Lakes fisheries is shared between several organizational bodies, which collaborate under Lake Committees. Although some data is collected, this information is not used to make management decisions. Harvest control rules are absent which impairs the ability to make informed harvesting decisions. Management also fails to address potentially high rates of bycatch.
Gillnets cause minimal amounts of habitat impact. However, the freshwater fish of Manitoba are keystone species. This means that their ecosystem function is disproportionately important compared to their biomass. It is highly concerning that their removal from the ecosystem is not monitored by scientific or management bodies.
Learn more about harvest methods
Waterhen Lake, Manitoba
Waterhen Lake walleye and Northern pike Commercial Gillnet
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