Status of important prey fishes in the U.S. waters of Lake Ontario, 2013: Introduction and methods

NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report 2013- 12
By: , and 



Lake Ontario has a mean depth of 86 m (282 ft) and a maximum depth of 244 m (801 ft) (Herdendorf 1982). The southern, New York portion of the lake has the deepest water (Figure 1). In New York waters, about 67% of the lake is <160 m (525 ft) deep and about 82% of the lake is <180 m (591 ft) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) have cooperatively assessed Lake Ontario prey fishes each year since 1978. Bottom trawl assessments were initially focused on Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus (April), Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax (June), and Slimy Sculpin Cottus cognatus (October). Seasonal survey timing corresponded to the peak catches in 1972 when collections were made every month May to October (Owens et al. 2003). Twelve transects were established at approximately 25-km intervals along the U.S. shoreline (Figure 2). Alewife assessment was conducted at all transects, Rainbow Smelt assessment at all transects except Fair Haven, and six transects representing eastern, southern, and western lake areas were sampled for Slimy Sculpin (Figure 2). Changes in the Lake Ontario ecosystem (species invasion, oligotrophication, native species rebound) require ongoing evaluation of current methods which sometimes necessitate redistribution of trawl effort, or changes in sampling designs and/or gear. For instance, the spring Alewife assessment is now used also to assess invasive Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus population dynamics. Likewise, the fall benthic fish assessment (formerly sculpin assessment) now also tracks dynamics of the rebounding native Deepwater Sculpin Myoxocephalus thompsonii population, the apparent declining population of Slimy Sculpin, and fall distribution of Round Goby.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype State/Local Government Series
Title Status of important prey fishes in the U.S. waters of Lake Ontario, 2013: Introduction and methods
Series title NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report
Series number 2013
Chapter 12
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Publisher location Albany, NY
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype State/Local Government Series
Larger Work Title 2013 Annual report: Bureau of Fisheries, Lake Ontario unit and St. Lawrence River unit, to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Lake Ontario Committee
First page 12-1
Last page 12-5
Conference Title Lake Ontario Committee Meeting
Conference Location Windsor, ON
Conference Date March 26-27, 2014
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Lake Ontario
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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