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ENB - Region 6 Notices 3/14/2012

Public Notice

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Announces Draft Fish Community Objectives for Lake Ontario for Review

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) have prepared Draft Fish Community Objectives for Lake Ontario (FCOs) and are inviting the public to submit comments. The document will guide NYS DEC and OMNR ecosystem research and management programs including reintroduction and restoration of native species, trout and salmon stocking programs, maintenance of predator-prey balance, and sea lamprey control. The draft FCOs describe primary goals, objectives and indicators for fish communities in the near shore, off shore pelagic, and off shore benthic ecological zones. The document also discusses dramatic, ongoing ecological changes in the lake due to invasive species introductions, and how these changes affect Lake Ontario's food webs and the fish communities and sport fisheries they support.

FCO highlights include:

  • The plan includes restoring populations of native lake trout, Atlantic salmon, lake sturgeon, lake whitefish and lake herring, and reintroducing species of deepwater cisco that have not been observed in the lake since 1984.
  • Maintenance of diverse trout and salmon fisheries is also proposed, including Chinook and Coho salmon, rainbow trout (steelhead), and brown trout.
  • An ecosystem approach to fisheries management will continue, recognizing the productive capacity of the Lake Ontario ecosystem, and the need to strike a balance between the number of trout and salmon stocked and the amount of available prey fish. It is also recognized that food available to prey fish could become limiting.
  • Management of native warm water and cool water fishes, such as smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and yellow perch, is emphasized in the near shore zone.

Additional information about Lake Ontario fisheries management can be found on the NYS DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7969.html.

An Adobe PDF copy of the Draft Fish Community Objectives for Lake Ontario may be downloaded from: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27068.html.

NYS DEC will accept comments on the draft FCOs during the 45 day public comment period, which ends April 27, 2012.

Comments, questions, or requests for a paper copy of the draft FCOs should be sent by e-mail to: fwfishlo@gw.dec.state.ny.us (type "LO FCOs" in the subject line) or by regular mail to NYSDEC Great Lakes Fisheries Section, P.O. Box 292, Cape Vincent, NY 13618.

Contact: Steve LaPan, NYSDEC - Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Great Lakes Fisheries Section, P.O. Box 292, Cape Vincent, NY 13618, Phone: (315) 654-2147, E-mail: fwfishlo@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

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