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DEC seeks input on Lake Ontario fisheries


Tue, Sep 13th 2016 05:55 pm

September meetings to discuss future salmon, trout and alewife management

The public will have the opportunity to learn about the status of Lake Ontario fisheries and provide input on future trout and salmon management at public meetings in Oswego, Niagara and Monroe counties this September, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.

"Lake Ontario and its tributaries provide world-class angling opportunities," Seggos said. "Under Gov. Cuomo's 'NY Open for Fishing and Hunting' initiative, salmon and trout fishing in Lake Ontario have never been better. New York is committed to ensuring the ecological, recreational and economic benefits of Lake Ontario's sport fisheries are sustained for generations to come."

Recent studies have shown Chinook salmon raised by sportsmen in "net pens" for three weeks prior to stocking survive twice as well as those stocked by traditional, direct stocking methods. In addition, approximately half of the Chinook salmon in Lake Ontario are naturally reproduced, "wild" fish. 

In addition, New York and the Province of Ontario stock a combined 2.36 million Chinook salmon each year. Improved survival of pen-reared fish and the contribution of wild fish resulted in an additional 6 million Chinook salmon per year over the yearly average. While the high numbers of Chinook salmon have produced record-breaking angling, the population is increasing demand on Chinook salmon's primary prey, the alewife.

While the impact of relatively poor alewife survival in two successive winters was not apparent in 2016, DEC experts are concerned with its impact on the size of the adult alewife population in 2017 and beyond, as well as the adult alewife population's ability to sustain the large numbers of trout and salmon in the lake.

Alewife, which have limited tolerance to cold temperatures, are not native to the Great Lakes. The extremely cold winters of 2013-14 and 2014-15 resulted in poor survival of alewife produced in those years.

The local meeting date is 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

Staff from DEC will present information, and the audience will have time to ask questions and provide input on potential management actions. Background information for these meetings can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7969.html. Those who cannot attend a meeting can provide comments at [email protected] through Oct. 14. For more information, contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes Fisheries section head, at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, 315-654-2147.

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