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St. Lawrence River Fish Community Objectives

The international portion of the St. Lawrence River (hereafter "system") is managed cooperatively by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) under the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's (GLFC) Joint Strategic Plan for the Management of Great Lakes Fisheries (Plan). The Plan calls for the development of fish community objectives (FCOs) for each of the Great Lakes and their connecting channels. FCOs define the desired structure of the fish community and fisheries in a given water, and are developed in consultation with stakeholders. FCOs also provide a foundation for discussions with management agencies, interest groups and the general public for developing more specific fisheries, habitat, and watershed management plans. St. Lawrence River FCOs were first drafted in 1999, and while fish species status reports are outdated, this document provides useful information on the river's historical fish community and physical habitat alterations.

The fish community inhabiting the international portion of the St. Lawrence River is very diverse, including over 80 species. While a number of species were invasive to the system or were intentionally introduced, the fish community is comprised primarily of native species sustained through natural reproduction. Habitat manipulation, regulation of fisheries, and fish stocking are the primary management options available to DEC and OMNRF for altering fish abundance, and the results of these actions are often imprecise. It must be recognized that fish stocking, if undertaken, will be for the purpose of spawning stock rehabilitation and expansion into new habitats. Fish will not be stocked to supplement abundance of wild fish. Other than a small-scale lake sturgeon restoration program in New York, the DEC and OMNRF do not stock fish in the system.

The documents listed below provide information related to St. Lawrence River fisheries and their management. For additional information, visit "Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Fisheries Research" for DEC reports and http://www.glfc.org/lakecom/loc/mgmt_unit/ for OMNRF reports.