Improved Methods Of Assessing Fish Communities
During the 1990s and 2000s the Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit led the development of two fisheries assessment standards, the Fall Walleye Index netting method (FWIN) and the international Nordic methods for use in North American Boreal Shield lakes.
The FWIN method was designed to target key sportfish species such as walleye and pike, and provides relative abundance data, as well as wide range of life history and population parameters to help assess the status of these sport fish stocks. The Nordic Method, on the other hand, is a more quantitative whole community assessment tool that is used to describe the overall community composition and the depth and size distribution of the various species. Like the FWIN method the Nordic method generates measure of a wide range of biological parameters (length, weight, sex, fecundity, Hg accumulation, etc.) and for this method some calibration to mark-recapture estimates of absolute abundance has been completed ( see Kaufman et al 2009, PDF).
The Ministry of Natural Resources funded the development of both of these methods and large data bases for hundreds of Ontario lakes now exist. Access to these data sets can be obtained by contacting VLWLC. The manuals describing these methods can be found and downloaded from our Publication and Reports section and an archive of the many 1000s of calcified tissues (scales, bones, otoliths) collected during these surveys resides at VLWLC.
A new research project is underway to compare the Nordic methods to the newly adopted Ontario Broadscale Monitoring method in lakes in the Yellow Knife.