Ontario Ministry Holds Lake Ontario Fisheries Congress
Phil Smith, OMNR's Lake Ontario Fisheries Manager, had invited some 30 individuals from a wide range of "stakeholders" interested in the management of Lake Ontario. Management people were present from both the Ontario and New York fisheries departments.
All participants were "self introduced" and given free reign to speak on any or all of the issues.
Chuck Krueger, Associate Professor Fisheries Science, Cornell University, set the tone with a talk on ecological principles and fisheries management then and now, which was well done and well received.
The following statements reflect a synopsis and thinking of the majority present.
1. Everyone was pleased when told that the OMNR intends to get back into coho stocking on our side of the lake.
2. The majority were in favor of taking some risk with the forage base in raising the present overall stocking levels on a cautious basis.
3. The chinook will continue to be the main predator in the lake.
4. The consensus was that lake trout stocking should be reduced and the major stocking areas should be in the east end of the lake where stakeholders want them.
5. Returns of brown trout in the eastern end of the lake have been very limited and agreement was reached that the majority of these fish should be stocked in the western end of the lake.
6. The present stocking of "fry" in the Atlantic salmon program should be continued until the end of the five year program. At that time it should be reassessed and a decision made to continue or quit the project.
7. Natural reproduction of all species should be encouraged where possible.
8. Private clubs and associations should be encouraged in rearing fish for stocking throughout the province under OMNR supervision.
9. The OMNR should be present when water quality is being discussed and place greater emphasis on the effect water quality is having on fish production.
There will also be public meetings in communities around Lake Ontario in January and February. We will try to keep you informed when these dates, times and places are known. Members of our association should attend whenever possible and let the OMNR benefit from your experiences on the lake.
Whatever transpired here is contingent on what occurs and what is agreed upon at the New York Fisheries Congress. Since this is a joint venture, any changes must be agreed upon by both Ontario and New York.
Doug Kettle is Secretary/Treasurer of Ontario Sportfishing Guides' Association as well as their editor.
Next month we will have a report on the New York Fisheries Congress prepared by Will Elliott, reporter for the Buffalo News and GLSFC Vice-President.
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