Smelt, Rainbow – Lake Erie (Canada)
Rainbow smelt is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region. It was first introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1930’s. It is a short-lived, rapidly growing fish and is prey for many larger species.
Management of Rainbow Smelt in the Great Lakes is complicated. Rainbow Smelt are having negative impacts on native forage or prey fish in the Great Lakes by competing for food. However, they also support important fisheries in the region.
In Lake Erie, Rainbow Smelt abundance reached a historic high in 2012. The only fishery that targets Rainbow Smelt in Lake Erie is a mid-water trawl fishery located in Canadian waters. The fishery has low impacts on other species and bottom habitats.