Fisheries Management and Ecology

Fisheries Management and Ecology, 2010, 17, 10–18

Night sampling improves indices used for management of yellow perch in Lake Erie
P. M. KOCOVSKY & M. A. STAPANIAN
USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station, Sandusky, OH, USA

C. T. KNIGHT
Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Fairport Harbor, OH, USA

Abstract Catch rate (catch per hour) was examined for age-0 and age-1 yellow perch, Perca flavescens (Mitchill), captured in bottom trawls from 1991 to 2005 in western Lake Erie: (1) to examine variation of catch rate among years, seasons, diel periods and their interactions; and (2) to determine whether sampling during particular diel periods improved the management value of CPH data used in models to project abundance of age-2 yellow perch. Catch rate varied with year, season and the diel period during which sampling was conducted as well as by the interaction between year and season. Indices of abundance of age-0 and age-1 yellow perch estimated from night samples typically produced better fitting models and lower estimates of age-2 abundance than those using morning or afternoon samples, whereas indices using afternoon samples typically produced less precise and higher estimates of abundance. The diel period during which sampling is conducted will not affect observed population trends but may affect estimates of abundance of age-0 and age-1 yellow perch, which in turn affect recommended allowable harvest. A field experiment throughout western Lake Erie is recommended to examine potential benefits of night sampling to management of yellow perch.
KEYWORDS:

dreissenids, harvest, models, Perca flavescens, quotas, trawl.

Introduction Sampling regimens that consider the biology and ecology of the target species, and that are adaptable as fish communities and ecology change are critical to effective fisheries management (Smith & Gavaris 1993; McAllister & Pikitch 1997; Folmer & Pennington 2000; Schnute & Haigh 2003). An inappropriate sampling regimen can produce variable and biased estimates of fish abundance (e.g. Korsbrekke & Nakken 1999). Ideally, a fisheries monitoring programme should include those procedures and collect samples that are both sufficient to answer the questions of interest and efficient in terms of expenditures of resources and time (e.g. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program; Larsen et al. 1994; Baker, Peck and Sutton 1997; Stapanian et al. 2007). State, provincial and federal agencies have been using data from bottom trawl surveys to assess the fish community of western Lake Erie since at least 1961

(Stapanian et al. 2007). Other assessments include gillnetting, hydroacoustics and midwater trawling. An important use of data from the bottom trawl surveys is to generate fishery-independent indices of recruitment for yellow perch, Perca flavescens (Mitchill), which is one of the more economically valuable fisheries in the Great Lakes region (Leach 1999). Indices of abundance of age-0 and age-1 yellow perch from agency bottom trawl surveys provide the only data for predicting future abundances of age-2 yellow perch, which is an important biological criterion for setting harvest quotas (e.g. Yellow Perch Task Group 2007). Nearly all bottom-trawl sampling by Lake Erie fisheries agencies is conducted during daylight hours. The US Geological Survey (USGS) Lake Erie Biological Station is the only agency that has included nighttime sampling in Lake Erie bottom trawl assessment programmes. Research in the north Atlantic has demonstrated that the diel period during which

Correspondence: Patrick M. Kocovsky, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station, 6100 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, OH 44857, USA (e-mail: pkocovsky@usgs.gov)

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doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2400.2009.00721.x

Published 2010. The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

The results of Stapanian et al. Furthermore. Boat speed was approximately 3.and 6. The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Published 2010. were greater at night than in the morning and afternoon. The few exceptions lasted 5-9 min when nets were caught on debris on the bottom. long-term field study of fishes in western Lake Erie were used to evaluate the effect of diel period of sampling on: (1) catch rate of age-0 and age-1 yellow perch.NIGHT SAMPLING FOR YELLOW PERCH 11 sampling takes place may affect catchability (Glass & Wardle 1989. including yellow perch. Yellow perch captured were categorised as either age 0.5-cm square mesh body and 5-mm square mesh cod end at three established stations (Fig. (2007) reported that bottom trawl catches of age0 fish of several species in western Lake Erie. afternoon (13:00– 18:00 hours) and night (beginning at least 30 min after sunset and ending by 01:00 hours the next day). The analysis focused on the period since the establishment of dreissenids given the results of Stapanian et al. Autumn trawl samples were collected from late September to early November.5. and (2) the precision and perceived accuracy of the relationship between indices of age-0 and age-1 yellow perch abundance and estimated age-2 abundance. On two or three consecutive days in summer and autumn. . Walsh 1991) or indices of abundance or recruitment (Michalsen et al. 1996. Summer trawling was conducted between the first week of August and the first week in September in each year.1-m depth contours during three time periods on each day: morning (beginning at least 30 min after sunrise and ending by 12:00 hours). Methods Field data collection Data were obtained from USGS assessment surveys conducted in the western basin of Lake Erie. More than 99% of all trawl tows included in this study were of 10-min duration. Yellow perch were collected with a 7. might be affected by the diel period samples are collected. Casey & Myers 1998) of some species of fish. 1991–2005. Study sites (filled circles) in western Lake Erie. All trawling was conducted with the same vessel and identical gear throughout the entire time period. The objective of this analysis was to determine whether samples collected during particular times of day produced better fitting regression models used to estimate abundance of age-2 yellow perch.5 km h)1 during each tow.9-m (headrope length) semi-balloon bottom trawl with 2. (2009) demonstrated that a shift to a higher ratio of nighttime to daytime catch of age-0 yellow perch occurred between 1990 and 1991 following increases in water clarity associated with the establishment of dreissenid mussels. 1) during summer and autumn.84 W Lake Erie 41. which are based on indices of recruitment from bottom trawl samples. Stapanian et al. (2009) prompted an examination of whether predictions of abundance of age-2 yellow perch. age 1 or age 2 and older based on age-length keys 82.58 N Marble head p e ninsula 0 10 20 kilometers Figure 1. Data from an ongoing. USA.1-. In Lake Erie. These appear to be the first assessments of the potential effect of sampling at night in western Lake Erie. which are the primary basis for recommended allowable harvest (RAH) used as a guide to establish the total allowable catch (TAC) of yellow perch in western Lake Erie. 4. (2009) that a shift in catchability of yellow perch followed the dreissenid invasion. Stapanian et al. duplicate trawl samples along the same transect were collected at the 3.

KOCOVSKY ET AL. year and diel period and season and diel period were included in both models. Separate models are constructed for each index from each of the several state. The interactions between year and season. (3) afternoon only. 1985) using data from commercial and recreational harvests and state and provincial agency assessment surveys. managers use survey data from 1983 to the present for projecting the next yearÕs abundance of harvestable yellow perch (Yellow Perch Task Group 2007). (6) morning and night only. autumn age0 and autumn age-1. The four indices of abundance were summer age-0. season and diel period on catch rate were tested by two-way ANOVA. Catch-at-age predictions of abundance were estimated using Auto Differentiation Model Builder (ADMB. Thus. This process for setting RAH has been in place since 2000. Data analysis The effects of year. which is the maximum number of fish that can be legally harvested. log10(CPH + 1) for age-0 and age-1 yellow perch was calculated for each trawl sample to homogenise variance. ADMB estimates of abundance (from Yellow Perch Task Group 2009) were compared with those predicted from each significant model (P for slope <0. the first estimator is referred to as the full sampling regimen and the remaining six estimators are referred to as reduced sampling regimens. The RAH is the primary biological estimate used in establishing the TAC. Data for 1991–2005 were used in this study for two reasons. The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. TukeyÕs Honestly Significant Difference test was performed post hoc for significant (P < 0. (2) morning only. The modelling procedure used to establish the RAH for yellow perch on Lake Erie (Yellow Perch Task Group 2007) was used to assess how index values calculated from data collected during different diel periods affected predictions of abundance of age-2 yellow perch in western Lake Erie. The first step in the modelling procedure included estimating abundance of age-2 yellow perch with a catch-at-age model (Deriso et al. A higher r2 for a model was interpreted as improved precision. (4) night only. provincial and federal assessment surveys. The second step uses linear regression to predict the next yearÕs abundance of age-2 yellow perch using fishery-independent indices of abundance of age-0 or age-1 yellow perch. Finally. unpublished data). Otter Research Ltd 2000). The three-variable interaction term could not be tested owing to insufficient degrees of freedom. 2009). catch rate of yellow perch at the sample locations in western Lake Erie shifted toward greater night-time catch rate following 1990 (Stapanian et al. The log-transformed CPHs (hereafter catch rates) were used to calculate seven different estimators of each of four indices of abundance of age0 and age-1 yellow perch. M. Current-year indices of abundance are then used to predict next yearÕs abundance of age-2 yellow perch (age-1 indices are lagged 1 year and age-0 indices are lagged 2 years). Separate ANOVAs were conducted for each age class because of the potential for age-1 catch rate to be autocorrelated with age-0 catch rate the previous year. developed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (Ohio Department of Natural Resources. First. either an age-0 or age-1 index is used in each model. On Lake Erie. The modelling approach described above was used with a slightly different range of years for the analysis presented here. The effect of diel period of sampling on abundance estimates and fit of models used to project abundance of age-2 yellow perch (the second step in the modelling process described above) was examined by comparing abundance predictions and r2 values of models using index values from the full sampling regimen to those using index values from each of the six reduced sampling regimens for each of the four indices of abundance. Past yearsÕ estimates of age-2 abundance from the ADMB model are used as the dependent variable.05) that used data collected at night to determine whether data collected at night predicted higher or Published 2010. and the abundance estimate and r2 from each of the reduced sampling regimens was compared with those of the full sampling regimen. and hereafter catch-at-age modelling is referred to as the ADMB model. summer age-1. Index values from the full sampling regimen and the reduced sampling regimens (independent variable) were each regressed against age-2 abundance from the ADMB model for each of the four indices. and (7) afternoon and night only.05) slopes is used to set the RAH.05) main effects that were not included in a significant interaction. such that only one index is used in each model (i. establishing a fixed number of years for the analysis controlled for the effect of sample size on r2 values from regression analysis.5 and significant (P < 0. The average prediction of age-2 yellow perch abundance from those models with r2 > 0. Hereafter. . and past yearsÕ indices of abundance for age-0 or age-1 yellow perch from agency bottom-trawl surveys are used as the independent variables to create a suite of models. Second. The seven different estimators were average catch rate among all depths from: (1) all three diel periods.e. but not both). (5) morning and afternoon only.12 P. the sample size increases with each additional yearÕs data.

Results (a) 1000 Morning Afternoon Night 100 Catch rate among years CPH + 1 Summer catch rate for age-0 yellow perch was the highest at night in 9 of the 15 study years and 7 of the last 8 years (Fig. particularly in summer.05) in explaining catch rate (Table 1).05).NIGHT SAMPLING FOR YELLOW PERCH 13 lower estimates of age-2 abundance than ADMB estimates. year. night sampling yielded greater catch rates than either morning or afternoon sampling (TukeyÕs HSD. For both age-0 and age-1 yellow perch. Autumn catch rate for age-0 yellow perch was the highest at night in 12 of the 15 study years and in 6 of the last 8 years (Fig. The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. . 2A). season. 3A). Morning and afternoon catch rate of age-0 or age-1 yellow perch did not differ (P > 0. especially since 1997. Model precision and predictions of abundance Figure 2. 2000 2003 1994 1997 Year 2000 2003 1000 CPH + 1 100 10 1 1991 1994 1997 Year 2000 2003 season were significant (P < 0. each diel period was examined individually for comparisons of regression models. For both age0 and age-1 yellow perch.05). Summer catch rate of age-1 yellow perch was the highest at night in 9 of the 15 study years and in 6 of the last 8 years (Fig. night catch rates were higher in most years. Catch rate measured as catch per hour + 1 (CPH + 1) of age-1 yellow perch in bottom trawls during 1991–2005 at three diel periods in summer (a) and autumn (b) in western Lake Erie. Autumn catch rate of age-1 yellow perch was the greatest at night in 13 of 15 study years and in 7 of the last 8 years (Fig. The interactions between season and diel period and year and diel period were not significant for either age group. Thus. As night catch rate differed from both morning and afternoon catch rates. Catch rate measured as catch per hour + 1 (CPH + 1) of age-0 yellow perch in bottom trawls during 1991–2005 at three diel periods in summer (a) and autumn (b) in western Lake Erie. diel period and the interaction between year and CPH + 1 10 1 1991 (b) 1000 Morning Afternoon Night 1994 1997 Year 2000 2003 100 10 (a) 100 000 10 000 CPH + 1 1000 100 10 1 1991 (b) 10 000 Morning Afternoon Night Morning Afternoon Night 1 1991 1994 1997 Year Figure 3. 3B). The r2 values of models for predicting the abundance of age-2 yellow perch that included night catch rates Published 2010. P < 0. The significant interaction between year and season reflects the multiplicative effect of variable year class strength and variation in recruitment to the trawl. for all indices of abundance. 2B).

KOCOVSKY ET AL. which was below the threshold for a model to be retained for use in calculating average abundance for establishing RAH.95 AN 0.71 0.090 0.80 9.95 0.78 1.48 18.18 16.65 1.03 1. diel periods were morning (0. afternoon (A) and night (N)] and from six reduced sampling regimens using data from one or more diel periods Reduced sampling regimens Index Summer age 0 r2 Slope Y intercept Age-2 estimate r2 Slope Y intercept Age-2 estimate r2 Slope Y intercept Age-2 estimate r2 Slope Y intercept Age-2 estimate Full regimen 0.834 0.66 7. afternoon or morning and afternoon CPH usually produced regression models with r2 < 0.57 4.0068 <0.54 1.16 5.0002 0.16 0.70 0.80 7.021 0.24 0.61 1.24 5.95 1.48 4.59 0. including catch rate data collected at night in regression models projecting abundance of age-2 yellow perch tended to drive abundance estimates lower.50 Summer age 1 Autumn age 0 Autumn age 1 Published 2010.056 F 39. 14 1 2 2 14 28 MS 2.67 10.60 8.03 31. when considered from the perspective of averaging of model predictions for the purpose of establishing RAH.75 2.54 MN 0.95 1.00 0. r2 of regression models was usually less than that of models using night catch rate.59 0.83 10.72 9.5 h after sunrise to 12:00 hours).64 1.46 M 0.30 0.21 0.14 Seasons were summer and autumn. For both age-0 indices. tended to be higher than when night catch rates were excluded (Table 2).86 9.48 1.37 4.94 8.72 0.06 6.67 10.35 7. using morning.f.23 2.58 17.73 6.14 P.74 10. especially for the age-0 indices.74 1. whenever only morning.97 23. M.00 3.227 0.0001 0.41 0.04 0.481 0.69 10.65 0. 1991–2005 Age 0 Age 1 P>F <0.73 10.31 4.95 MA 0. Regression parameters and estimated abundance of age-2 yellow perch (millions) for linear regressions predicting abundance of age-2 yellow perch in western Lake Erie from indices of abundance from the full sampling regimen [sampling in the morning (M).971 0.75 1. only afternoon or the combination of morning and afternoon catch rates were used. With the exception of using only afternoon catch rate for the summer age-1 index.48 3.0001 0.76 0. regression models that used only morning.46 7.78 11.17 0.74 )1.53 0.090 0.18 8.834 6. Results of ANOVA of catch rate of yellow perch captured in bottom trawls fished in western Lake Erie.76 7.5.66 6. Table 1.07 1. .58 A 0.99 )2.54 6.55 14.0001 0.0001 <0. Conversely.38 4.63 5.84 0.09 0.23 )2.22 0.42 3.37 1.06 N 0.71 0.63 )1.48 6.06 )0.48 6. Thus.18 1.6864 0.0008 0.57 4.51 9.19 2.5 h after sunset to no later than 01:00 hours the next morning). Using only night catch rate always produced regression models that projected lower abundance of age-2 yellow perch compared with all other sampling regimens (Table 2) for all indices except autumn age 0 (morning and night data produced the lowest abundance estimate).46 3.81 5.51 4.42 0.60 5.24 9.48 8.41 0.69 86.77 10.247 0.65 4. The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Regression models that used indices of abundance that included catch rate data collected at night typically produced lower estimates of age-2 yellow Table 2.079 F 35.50 3.58 6.61 8.58 9.06 12. only afternoon or the combination of morning and afternoon catch rate predicted higher numbers of age-2 fish than all other sampling regimens.59 8.82 10.1094 Source Year Season Diel period Season · diel period Year · season Year · diel period Error d.30 2.65 3.44 0.67 0.0576 0.6 P>F <0.493 <0.08 0.0001 0.22 )4.856 0. afternoon (12:01–18:00 hours) and night (0.80 6.30 0.06 8.835 0.3684 MS 2.38 0.86 )2.

54 Projected age 2 29.05.72 0.863 1.178 31. <0. <0.347 31.129 13.01. For 14 of these models. <0. and the average of regression-model estimates of abundance of age-2 fish resulted in one of the highest RAHs and TACs in more than two decades. <0. Table 3.244 18.01.997 1. Projected abundance of age-2 yellow perch (millions) from regression models using indices of abundance that included night sampling and average projected abundance for all regression models used to establish recommended allowable harvest of yellow perch in western Lake Erie.244 23.633 2. eighteen models that used night-time catch rate (indices calculated with full sampling regimens) have been included in the suite of models used to establish RAH (Table 3) in western Lake Erie.01. Since 2000.74 0. and for all 18 models the mean is 16% lower.01. unpublished data) have typically been greater at night since 1991. <0. A review of model predictions that were used to estimate abundance of age-2 fish in 2005 (Yellow Perch Task Group 2005 and Table 3) revealed that an index evaluated in these analyses (autumn age 0). Catch rates for age-0 (Stapanian et al. abundance predictions that included night-time CPH have resulted in lower average projected abundance of age-2 yellow perch.59 0. Thus. Both ADMB model predictions. <0.409 1.59 0.174 25. <0. predictions using indices that included data collected at night were lower than the mean prediction of all retained models by an average of 45%.4 1.74 0.68 0.633 2.01. Discussion The diel period when bottom trawl sampling took place affected the catch rate data used in the management process for yellow perch in western Lake Erie. An example of the practical value of lower abundance estimates was the overharvest of the 2003 year class of yellow perch in western Lake Erie.01. Including catch rates from night sampling in index values consistently resulted in lower estimates of age-2 yellow perch abundance compared with index values that included catch rates from morning or afternoon sampling. in almost all years since 2000.NIGHT SAMPLING FOR YELLOW PERCH 15 perch abundance compared with the average predicted age-2 abundance of the suite of models used to establish RAH during the entire time period that the current modelling procedure has been used.01.71 0. <0.927 5. <0.71 0.01. <0. overfishing of the 2003 year class coupled with poor recruitment of the 2004 and 2005 year classes (Yellow Perch Task Group 2008) and a change in the ODNR method for allocating harvest quota to commercial and recreational fisheries resulted in no harvest allocated to the commercial fishery in western Lake Erie in 2008 and a reduction in recreational bag limits in Ohio waters to 25 fish per day.409 31. <0. The analyses presented here demonstrated that abundance estimates produced using index values that include data collected at night Published 2010.72 4.80 0.907 The better fitting models produce more precise estimates of abundance of yellow perch. 2009) and age-1 yellow perch (USGS Lake Erie Biological Station. which has the potential to reduce fluctuations in RAHs and reduce population fluctuations brought about by harvest as has been observed by Jonzen et al.75 0. <0.68 0. 0.11 3.556 18.68 0. and may even be inferior in terms of commercial value if harvest is lower than the population can sustain.146 18. which are heavily influenced by previous yearsÕ harvests.489 1.523 22.1 0.01.70 0. which in turn means greater confidence in RAH and a stronger basis for the use of RAH in the process of setting TAC.01. the only index in western Lake Erie to include night sampling.145 1. This study demonstrated that including night catch rates tended to improve the fit of models used for projecting abundance of age-2 yellow perch. (2001) (but see also Anderson et al.338 1.01.409 1.633 23. 2008). r2 <0. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) responded to the apparently high abundance by increasing bag limits for recreational anglers from 25 to 30 fish per day in Ohio waters.67 0.149 1.68 0.957 16. Indices of abundance from bottom trawl sampling of age-0 yellow perch in 2003 and age-1 yellow perch in 2004 were among the highest in the historical time series (Yellow Perch Task Group 2005). The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.347 31.68 0. By autumn 2007.902 32.336 11. <0. 2000–2008 Average projected age 2 8.52 0.01. <0. Although lower estimates are not necessarily better for harvest management. All other indices were calculated from primarily afternoon sampling.01. Each of these benefits and potential causal factors of shifts in CPH over time are discussed below. they reduce the risk of overfishing. Consistently lower estimates of age-2 fish over time would result in lower variation among years.01. <0.945 0.347 2.01. .318 77. produced the lowest estimate of abundance of age-2 yellow perch. <0.556 Report year 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2004 2004 2003 2003 2003 2002 2002 2002 2001 2001 2000 2000 2000 Index Autumn Autumn Autumn Autumn Autumn Summer Autumn Summer Autumn Autumn Summer Autumn Autumn Summer Summer Autumn Summer Summer age age age age age age age age age age age age age age age age age age 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 Model P.556 18.05.01. <0.

which would decrease the potential for overharvest (Walters & Maguire 1996). The article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. lower estimates of abundance of age-2 yellow perch from regression models that use night catch rate data would decrease RAH. therefore.16 P. have been below the average of all models used in estimating age-2 abundance for establishing harvest quotas in most years since this modelling procedure has been in place. such as additional safety measures that must be taken. M. If the trend of high-biased ADMB estimates continues. Bales. first estimates have been higher than the subsequent estimate by 30%. just that there is no evidence of it. inconvenience to researchers and vessel crews and additional labour costs (e. only one seasonÕs harvest data). Management agencies will have to weigh the additional costs and inconveniences of night-time sampling against the potential benefits to management of yellow perch. will be needed to demonstrate whether the results presented here apply to broader areas of Lake Erie. in turn.g. First. M. The risk of unrealised economic gains because of lower estimates of abundance is probably lower than the risk of overharvest due to overestimating yellow perch abundance for two reasons. and it is possible that RAH at some time in future will be lower than the population can sustain if night-time sampling were to become more common in western Lake Erie. and perhaps in other basins. 2004. unrealised economic gains for the valuable commercial and recreational fisheries. which has offshore areas up to 12 m deep. However. This effect was a result of changes in not only slopes but also Y-intercepts of predictive models when night catch rate was used. and decision makers use criteria in addition to RAH. The high bias of ADMB estimates in recent years may be a result of high TACs and high harvest rates that have achieved or nearly achieved TAC in most years. which is when the current Yellow Perch Task Group modelling approach began). This does not mean that there have not been instances of unrealised catch in the past. sampling was conducted in a comparatively small near-shore area of western Lake Erie that is not necessarily representative of the entire basin. . when setting TAC. an important data set for managing harvest of yellow perch in western Lake Erie. there are no clear examples in the data set to date that lower estimates of abundance of yellow perch have resulted in unrealised catch as there are for overharvest of the 2003 year class. For example. However. The results of the analyses presented here suggest that night-time sampling may improve indices of abundance of age-0 and age-1 yellow perch used in the management process for establishing RAH in western Lake Erie. 2003. A review of ADMB predictions shows that initial ADMB estimates of age-2 yellow perch abundance (i. Brohl. An expanded study that includes night-time sampling throughout the western basin. Deriso et al. Initial estimates of abundance of age-2 yellow perch since the year 2000 were higher than the subsequent estimate by an average of 13% (Yellow Perch Task Group 2001. thus potentially decreasing TAC. Bur. It may seem counterintuitive that higher catch rate from night sampling would produce lower estimates of abundance of age-2 yellow perch. Published 2010. the slope of the autumn age-0 index using morning and night data was higher than for all other reduced sampling regimens and only marginally smaller than the slope for the full sampling regimen (Table 2). the first time abundance of an age-2 cohort is estimated using the ADMB model) have usually been biased highly since this modelling procedure has been used. L. KOCOVSKY ET AL. This is expected because catch rate was higher at night. The data series is rather short (since 2000. Since 2002. 2006. 2002. The data series analysed here has provided strong relationships with ADMB estimates of age-2 yellow perch abundance in western Lake Erie in the recent past and is. lower Y-intercepts for many regressions that include nighttime data offset those gains resulting in lower estimates of abundance. (1985) acknowledged the potential for initial catch-at-age estimates to be biased (either high or low) because of the small amount of information used in the analysis the first time a cohortÕs size is estimated (i.e. and the resulting projected abundance for that reduced sampling regimen was the lowest for the autumn age-0 index. Thus. overtime). 2005. and more directly that there is no evidence of it related to sampling at night. Sampling at night presents several challenges. harvest is dictated by TAC. while higher slopes of regression equations produced from indices that use higher catch rate would tend to drive estimates of abundance of age-2 yellow perch higher. Management agencies must be aware that lower estimates of yellow perch abundance produced by index values that use data collected at night may result in a lower RAH than the population could sustain and. W. Second. the Y-intercept was also the lowest. such as potential economic impacts.e. 2007). Acknowledgments Assistance with data collection and vessel operations were provided by J. Lower estimates of the abundance of the 2003 year class of yellow perch may have averted the overharvest that contributed to closure of the commercial fishery in western Lake Erie in 2008.

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