Stocking Herring in Lake Ontario

Dec 20, 2012

Just a sampling of the ten thousand herring put into Irondequoit Bay Thursday

Scientists gathered at Irondequoit Bay Thursday morning to stock the lake with 10,000 lake herring.

It's an effort, they say, to replenish an important prey fish.

At one point, Lake Ontario had seven species of whitefish, but now there are only three, including the herring.

Dr. Jim Johnson of the U.S. Geological Survey says the alewife outcompeted the herring and because of this, trout and salmon feeding primarily on alewife can experience reproductive failure. Predators that feed on herring are less likely to have reproductive failure.

Now, Johnson says, the alewife population is waning, and they're restocking Lake Ontario in an effort to restore the native food web in the lake, and rebuild the whitefish population.

Johnson says they'll wait and see if the lake herring will thrive, but they haven't assessed the quality of the spawning habitat.

He says it's important to restore the native forage fish in the waters of Lake Ontario.

Here's video of the restocking of Irondequoit Bay by scientists from the U.S. Geological Society and officials from the State Department of Conservation.