The Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, announced a proposed initiative in June 2016 that aims to bring back an extirpated species to the state – Arctic grayling.  The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative seeks to establish self-sustaining populations of this species throughout its historical range in Michigan. The initiative has more than 45 partners collaborating on the reintroduction.

The next steps include identifying interest and abilities of partners, collecting baseline data, initiating the building of broodstock and stocking efforts. The Manistee River watershed, once known as a premier grayling river, will be the first location for reintroduction.

The DNR will work closely with partners as the proposed Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative moves forward. The Little River Band, located in Manistee County, has been engaged in extensive research for potential grayling reintroduction for several years.

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FISH PRODUCTION 

The role fish production plays in the effort to reestablish grayling in Michigan differs significantly from the role it plays in many fish management efforts. In most instances, fish destined for stocking are reared either intensively in tanks and raceways or extensively in ponds, with the product stocked as fingerlings or yearlings. 

 

At the onset of this effort, the only fish reared beyond the eyed egg stage are those that are to be used as future broodstock. 

 

In preparing for grayling reintroduction, the principles of genetic management must be followed to ensure success. All efforts will be made to found this population with as much genetic diversity as is practicable. Efforts will be made to obtain fertilized eggs for three successive years from Alaska, and tissue samples will be collected from all future brood lots and production lots so that genetic condition can be monitored as management of this species progresses.

 

For more detailed information on the Fish Production Focus Area, please view the Action Plan section for Fish Production.

Fish Production Goals:

 

  1. Experiment with Remote Site Incubator (RSI) Designs.

  2. Produce eggs for RSIs that meet management and research needs.

  3. Ensure fish health standards are upheld.

  4. Identify what resources among partners will help to develop captive brood.

  5. Maintain a genetically diverse broodstock of 800 adults to spawn per year class per facility.

Magnified view of an Arctic Grayling egg
Arctic Grayling eggs shown from a Remote Site Incubator or RSI
Arctic Grayling eggs shown from a Remote Site Incubator or RSI