The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released its proposed Fish Community Objectives for Lake Ontario for public review and comment. The comment period ends April 27, 2012.
Lake Ontario’s fisheries are jointly managed by DEC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). DEC and OMNR strive to provide sound management of Lake Ontario’s fisheries for ecosystem function and recreational benefits.
The draft plan is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27068.html on the DEC website. The objectives would serve to guide bi-national 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.
Objectives are outlined in the draft plan for 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. The draft plan also provides for the maintenance of diverse trout and salmon fisheries including Chinook and Coho salmon, rainbow trout (steelhead) and brown trout.
The draft plan describes primary goals, objectives and indicators for fish communities in the nearshore, offshore pelagic and offshore benthic ecological zones. It 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.