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For Release: Friday, June 25, 2021

DEC Announces Success of Collaborative Fish Pen Rearing Program

Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Stocked into Black River Bay

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that Region 6 fisheries staff released 50,000 Chinook salmon and 10,000 steelhead (rainbow trout) into Black River Bay in early May 2021.

The fish are part of an innovative pen rearing program conducted in partnership with Navy Point Marina in Sackets Harbor and volunteer anglers from the Henderson Harbor Guides Association.

Navy Point Marina used a crane to move the pens into the water and will store the pens during winter months. Volunteer anglers helped care for the fish prior to the stocking effort.

"Working with DEC fisheries experts, angler volunteers provided daily care for the fish and pens to support this innovative program, and undertook feeding, cleaning, recording mortality, and monitoring fish health," said Randall C. Young, Region 6 Regional Director.

"Chinook salmon growth was larger than the expected target size for release and Steelhead growth was the exact size targeted for release. We anticipate that pen-rearing will improve returns of Chinook and steelhead to the Black River and enhance the fishery."

"The project helps the fish to have a better chance at survival. They are imprinted to come back to the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario. Fisherman can enjoy better fishing in the future and better odds at catching a Chinook salmon or rainbow trout," said Fred Kucik, Henderson Harbor Guides Association president.

Future pen rearing efforts will be led by angler volunteers with support from Navy Point Marina and DEC Region 6 Fisheries staff. The true success of the project will be determined in the future once DEC sees more adults return to the fishery.

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