Bi-National Efforts to Restore an Extirpated Species, Coregonus Hoyi, to Lake Ontario

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 11:10 AM
304B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Timothy Drew , White Lake Fish Culture Station, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Sharbot Lake, ON, Canada
Until the mid-1950’s, Lake Ontario was home to a diverse assemblage of deepwater ciscoes including Bloater (Coregonus hoyi), Kiyi (C. kiyi), Shortnose Cisco (C. reighardi) and possibly Blackfin Cisco (C. nigripinnis).  These species formed the foundation of the pelagic prey community and provided the primary linkage between benthic invertebrates and top predators. Scientists now believe that conditions are right to enable the re-establishment of these species. The benefits of doing so could include restoring food web structure and function, increasing the diversity and resilience of the prey community, and increasing the likelihood of success of Lake Trout and Atlantic Salmon restoration efforts by reducing thiaminase impacts from diets based on alewife and smelt.  In 2010, a bi-national plan to restore Bloater to Lake Ontario was launched which aims to establish a self-sustaining population within 25 years through five actions: identifying a reliable gamete source, increasing culture and rearing capacity, optimizing stocking, addressing science gaps and increasing public awareness. Recent efforts have focused on securing a reliable source of gametes, improving gamete collection practices and developing husbandry practices.  Excellent progress has been made.   The first group of Bloater was stocked in 2012 and we are now ready to move to production.