Freshwater Fisheries in Canada: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Resources and Their Management

Chapter 10: Status and Management of Fisheries Resources in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Robert J. Lennox, Jill Brooks, John M. Dettmers, Nicholas E. Mandrak, and Steven J. Cooke


The Laurentian Great Lakes are among the world’s most important freshwater ecosystems, providing food, water, energy, and other ecosystem services to millions of North Americans. The Great Lakes have been exploited by humans for millennia and are under significant pressure owing to habitat degradation and destruction, pollution, overexploitation, biological invasions, and other impacts on the ecosystems. Nevertheless, these lakes are widely relied on for food via commercial, recreational, and subsistence catches as well as some limited aquaculture in the system. In this chapter, we review the status and management of Great Lakes fisheries, the pressures that they face, and the challenges confronted by managers in an era of rapid and ongoing change. Although the focus is decidedly Canadian contexts, given their embeddedness in the broader Great Lakes basin that spans parts of both Canada and the United States and the binational governance framework, this chapter includes some American content.