Abstract for: Explaining and Predicting Recruitment of Yellow Perch in North American Inland Lakes

Managing sustainable fisheries populations relies on an understanding of the interplay between recruitment, growth, and mortality. Recruitment is frequently noted as the most influential parameter of these three dynamic rate functions. The erratic recruitment dynamics of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) often confound fisheries scientists, managers, and regulators of inland lakes. Yellow perch populations provide many recreationally important fisheries directly or supports fisheries for other species. Additionally, recruitment patterns of yellow perch are expected to become more erratic under changing environmental conditions such as climate change. Traditional fisheries modeling approaches often fail to capture the dynamics and complexities of recruitment. In this paper, we describe the initial stages of building an SD model of yellow perch recruitment for inland lakes. We compare this approach to traditional fisheries recruitment modeling approaches and describe the next steps in model development and use. Initial model sensitivity testing shows promise in our model to date and is congruent with ecological information. We believe that our final SD model will benefit fisheries scientists, managers, and regulators in anticipating and potentially mitigating recruitment variation to provide sustainable recreational fisheries in inland lakes across the geographic range of yellow perch.