Biologists to update status of lake's fisheries
The public will have the opportunity to learn about the state of Lake Ontario fisheries at public meetings held in Monroe, Niagara and Oswego counties in March, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced.
"Anglers continue to experience outstanding fishing on Lake Ontario and its tributaries," he said. "Under Gov. Cuomo's 'NY Open for Fishing and Hunting' initiative, Lake Ontario's high-quality angling opportunities and associated economic benefits are thriving. The state of Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in the lake to interact with the scientists who study its fisheries."
Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish. New York's Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres. A 2007 statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to the local New York economy.
The meeting dates are as follows:
•Monday, March 2: 6:30-9 p.m. at the Rochester Institute of Technology campus (Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) - Carlson Auditorium), Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.
•Tuesday, March 10: 6:30-9 p.m. at the DEC Training Academy, 24 County Route 2A, Pulaski (the former Portly Angler Motel), Oswego County. The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association.
•Monday, March 16: 6:30- 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.
Cuomo's "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York. In support of this initiative, $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects, such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.
Under the initiative, the 2015-16 executive budget proposes an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state's hatcheries in NY Works funding. The budget also proposes to create a new capital account, which will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.
DEC, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish and stocking programs. The meetings will provide ample time at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters.
Information about DEC's Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27068.html. For further information, contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes section leader at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, at 315-654-2147.