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Science for Great Lakes Net-Pen


The State of Michigan has received concept proposals from proponents to establish privately owned net-pen operations in public waters of the Laurentian Great Lakes. To determine an appropriate response to these proposals, Michigan’s Quality of Life (QOL, agencies) group, i.e., the departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental Quality, and Natural Resources, established a Scientific Advisory Panel to provide scientific insight into aquaculture and its impact on lake ecosystems. The QOL group seeks to evaluate these and other requests so as to manage the public waters of the State of Michigan in an ecologically sound manner, while also fostering economic development where practical.

The Advisory Panel presented a report that was developed based on general aquaculture principles and information for finfish culture, recognizing that the specifics, i.e., a fish species in a particular Great Lake, would not be available, though information will be included if available. A complete list of the species permitted for aquaculture is included in the Michigan Aquaculture Development Act, Act 199 of 1996. Of the species permitted for aquaculture by Michigan, those likely to be of greatest interest to aquaculture proponents in the Great Lakes are Rainbow Trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss), Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar), Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), Walleye (Sander vitreus), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens). Of this group of fishes, Lake Whitefish, Walleye, and Yellow Perch are native to the Great Lakes; Rainbow Trout have been naturalized in these systems. As a panel, we developed our report with these species in mind.

Click here to read a summary version of the report.

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