Illustration of Walleye

Walleye

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Walleye

Sander vitreus

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Handline

Location

Minnesota, Red Lake

Overall Rating

4.1 / 5

Summary

In the Red Lakes Band fishery, all the walleye that are caught are sold regionally or nationally and are not exported to other countries. This fish would not be found in Canadian markets.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

aka yellow pickerel, pickerel, yellow pike, dore

Sander vitreus

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Trap net

Location

Canada (Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario), US (Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior - Michigan)

Overall Rating

2.8 - 3.1 / 5

Summary

Walleye are near-shore predators of the Great Lakes and have been fished commercially since the late 19th century. Walleye dominate the Great Lakes commercial fisheries due to their resilience against fishing pressure and their tolerance to varying environmental conditions.

Walleye have life history characteristics that make them resilient against fishing pressure. The populations in Lake Superior (Michigan) as well as Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are in recovery. Commercial fishing is restricted in Lake Huron in order to aid recovery efforts. The stock in Lake Erie has been historically variable due to changes in environmental conditions and overfishing, and is still recovering. Small amounts of walleye are harvested from Lake Ontario where the low fishing rate does not cause a great impact to the population.

Management of the Great Lakes fisheries is shared between several organizational bodies, which collaborate under Lake Committees. Management is moderately effective; the various regulatory measures concern research, enforcement, stocking, quotas, water quality monitoring, stock assessments, and other issues.

Little bycatch occurs. Most non-target fish are retained and sold portside as they have commercial value. Bottom gillnets and trap nets cause minimal habitat impacts. Although these fishing methods make contact with the substrate, they are immobile and do not cause physical destruction of the lake bottom.

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Variety

aka yellow pickerel, pickerel, yellow pike, dore

Sander vitreus

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Trap net

Location

Canada (Lake Superior, Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Winnipegosis), US (Lake Superior - Wisconsin)

Overall Rating

1.2 - 2.7 / 5

Summary

There are about 300 lakes that are commercially fished in Manitoba. The lake fish caught in Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis include walleye, lake whitefish, northern pike, and yellow perch. Walleye comprised more than half of the catch. Canada and the US are the main markets for Manitoba-caught walleye and lake whitefish. Walleye stocks are abundant compared to historic levels in Lake Winnipeg, whereas the walleye stock has collapsed in Lake Winnipegosis.

Walleye 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. Bycatch rate is largely unknown due to a lack of information. It is thought that sauger is a bycatch species in Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis. Bycatch of sauger in Lake Winnipegosis is highly concerning because there is some evidence of a critically low stock level in this lake with no recovery in recent years. 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.

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Variety

Walleye

Sander vitreus

Method

Wild

Gillnet

Location

Waterhen Lake, Manitoba

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Waterhen Lake walleye and Northern pike Commercial Gillnet

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

 

 

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