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For Release: Monday, February 10, 2014

DEC Announces State of Lake Ontario Meetings

Biologists to Update Status of Lake's Fisheries

As part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the public will have the opportunity to learn about the State of Lake Ontario fisheries at public meetings in Monroe, Niagara, and Oswego counties in March, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"Lake Ontario anglers continue to experience outstanding fishing on Lake Ontario and its tributaries," Commissioner Martens said. "DEC's goal is to support the Governor's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative by growing Lake Ontario's high-quality angling opportunities and associated economic benefits. 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 3, 2014: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the Carlson Auditorium, in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus, Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

Thursday, March 13, 2014: 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension
Building, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 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.

DEC, United States Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources biologists will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish, stocking programs and fisheries management plans. Ample time will be provided at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters. Prior to the public meetings, information summaries for a host of Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs will be posted on DEC's website. Previous annual reports can also be found at this site. For further information contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes Section Leader at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

Governor Cuomo's 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, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish, expanding fishing clinics and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. Through these efforts, New York has become a premier destination for bass fishing tournaments at the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, Lake Champlain and Oneida Lake.

In support of this initiative, Governor Cuomo this year has proposed the creation of 50 new land access projects, which will connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, Governor Cuomo included $4 million for hatchery upgrades in this year's Executive Budget.

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