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For Release: Friday, June 14, 2013

DEC Survey of Central Park Lake Fails to Find Snakehead Fish

Survey Finds Balanced Fish Population Great for Freshwater Recreational Fishing

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)'s recent fish population survey at Harlem Meer, a lake in Central Park, found no northern snakehead fish, the agency announced today. The northern snakehead is an invasive species not native to the United States.

On April 30, DEC's Bureau of Fisheries performed an electrofishing survey of the Harlem Meer to monitor the status of populations and the health of aquatic communities. Previous DEC electrofishing surveys of the Harlem Meer were performed in 2008, 2009 and 2011. While a northern snakehead was captured during the 2008 survey, none were captured or observed during the 2009, 2011 or 2013 surveys.

Data from the 2013 survey indicates the Harlem Meer is home to an ecologically balanced fish population offering quality recreational freshwater fishing. Two laps of the Harlem Meer's shoreline were electrofished, and DEC staff collected 814 fish including pumpkinseed, bluegill and green sunfish, largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch and golden shiner.

Electrofishing catch rates are estimates of the relative abundance of fish in a given water body. In 2013, the catch rate of all fish (810 fish/hour) was the highest of all previous Harlem Meer fishery surveys performed by DEC. Largemouth bass catch rate (194 fish/hour) also exceeded that of all previous Meer surveys. The largest largemouth bass captured was more than 20 inches long and was the second largest bass found in any DEC electrofishing survey in New York City waters since 2006. Black crappie and yellow perch catch rates also improved from the previous three surveys. For DEC fishing regulations for New York City visit DEC's website.

DEC's next fisheries survey of the Harlem Meer is scheduled for 2015.

Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

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