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Lake trout rehabilitation in Lake Ontario

Journal of Great Lakes Research

By:
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Abstract

Attempts to maintain the native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) population in Lake Ontario by stocking fry failed and the species was extirpated by the 1950s. Hatchery fish stocked in the 1960s did not live to maturity because of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) predation and incidental commercial harvest. Suppression of sea lampreys began with larvicide treatments of Lake Ontario tributaries in 1971 and was enhanced when the tributaries of Oneida Lake and Lake Erie were treated in the 1980s. Annual stocking of hatchery fish was resumed with the 1972 year class and peaked at about 1.8 million yearlings and 0.3 million fingerlings from the 1985-1990 year classes. Survival of stocked yearlings declined over 50% in the 1980s and was negatively correlated with the abundance of lake trout > 550 mm long (r = -0.91, P < 0.01, N = 12). A slot length limit imposed by the state of New York for the 1988 fishing season reduced angler harvest. Angler harvest in Canadian waters was 3 times higher in eastern Lake Ontario than in western Lake Ontario. For the 1977-1984 year classes, mean annual survival rate of lake trout age 6 and older was 0.45 (range: 0.35-0.56). In U.S. waters during 1985-1992, the total number of lake trout harvested by anglers was about 2.4 Times greater than that killed by sea lampreys. The number of unmarked lake trout < 250 mm long in trawl catches in 1978-1992 was not different from that expected due to loss of marks and failure to apply marks at the hatchery, and suggested that recruitment of naturally-produced fish was nil. However, many of the obstacles which may have impeded lake trout rehabilitation in Lake Ontario during the 1980s are slowly being removed, and there are signs of a general ecosystem recovery. Significant recruitment of naturally produced lake trout by the year 2000, one interim objective of the rehabilitation plan for the lake, may be achieved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Lake trout rehabilitation in Lake Ontario
Series title:
Journal of Great Lakes Research
Volume
21
Year Published:
1995
Language:
English
Description:
p. 83-107
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Great Lakes Research
First page:
83
Last page:
107
Number of Pages:
24