Historically, Lake Ontario may have supported the world's largest freshwater population of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). However, by the late 1800's, salmon were virtually extinct in the lake due to the damming of tributaries, overharvest, deforestation, and pollution. Of these factors, the building of dams on tributaries, which precluded access by the salmon to natal spawning streams, was probably the most detrimental. Since the extirpation of Atlantic salmon in the Lake Ontario watershed over a century ago, considerable change has occurred throughout the lake and tributary ecosystem. The changes within the ecosystem that may have the most profound effect on Atlantic salmon restoration include the presence of exotic species, including other salmonines, and reduced habitat quality, especially in tributaries. These changes must be taken into account when considering Atlantic salmon restoration.
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Interspecific competition in tributaries: Prospectus for restoring Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario