DEC to conduct Atlantic salmon net pen-rearing projects on Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain


A large group of fish swimming under the surface of the water.

NEW YORK (WWTI) — New Atlantic salmon projects will be launched on two New York State lakes this spring.

On Monday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the deployment of two new pen-rearing projects for Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario. These projects will aim to improve post-stocking survival and imprinting the stocked water.

According to the DEC pen-rearing is a process where young salmon, smolts, are stocked into net pens and held at the stocking site. The salmon will imprint on the river water and prepare to out-migrate to the lake system.

The DEC added that each project will compare two lots of Atlantic salmon to evaluate the effectiveness. One lot will be held for approximately three weeks prior to released and a second will be directly stocked into the water at the same site when the smolts are released.

The pen-rearing projects will be conducted in the Saranac River estuary in Lake Champlain and in the Salmon River in Lake Ontario.

“Atlantic salmon are a highly prized sport fish,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Working with our partners from Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DEC hopes to increase the survival of stocked salmon smolts for greater returns of adults to tributaries for improved angling opportunities and spawning in these two major fisheries.”

To conduct these projects, the DEC is partnering with he Lake Champlain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Plattsburgh Boat Basin on the Saranac River project and partnering with the Tug Hill/Black River Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Salmon River Lighthouse and Marina on the Salmon River project. 

DEC Commissioner Seggos confirmed that the net pen-rearing projects for Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario will begin in the Spring of 2021.

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