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Lake Ontario's troubled waters


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I read the following article and thought I should share it . According to the authors , Lake Ontario is the most stressed of the great lakes . And some of the stressors are : charter fishing , native species stocking , and non - native species stocking ( Chinook and Coho ? ) . Something to keep our eye on ? If I was a charter captain I would be researching this issue , to find out why they consider charter fishing a "stressor" .

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/ ... cart_river

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This is an opinion article. Actually, the list is upside down. The most fertile, fish growing lakes are in the writers opinion, the least desireable.

I'm sure the "charter fishers" are looked at as a stressor because they encounter their favored native species and show case their unfavored "non native" species. This promotes a fishery they don't support, and they wish would go away. The runoff actually helps with the fertility of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and if they had it their way our mature Chinooks would weigh 8lbs.

These articles never, ever give credit where it belongs--with the brave managers who introduced the Pacific Salmon, thus controlling the invasive Alewife. This gives their beloved native species a chance. The articles also never mention how much the Pacific Salmon fishery has done for the quality of life or the southshore economies.

Many people in the Great Lakes region are well aware that there are others out there that want to "wean" anglers off of their favored Pacific Salmon.

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This is the part that really bugs me:

One problem with Lake Ontario that probably can’t be fixed is the influx of invasive species. Boyer said zebra mussels and other species have been introduced to the Great Lakes through shipping and, once here, are difficult to eliminate.

“The problem with invasives is they are easier to keep out than to get rid of them,†Boyer said.

It will be impossible to get rid of what's already here. But the problem CAN be "fixed" by stopping more species from getting in. There needs to be regulations on blowing ballast in the lakes. It's not hard compared to the alternatives and would make a big difference. Of course the shipping industry is blocking this.

I can't see calling it an opinion article. It's a summary of the work of http://greatlakesmapping.org/ You may not agree with it but GLEAM is doing its best to scientifically study the health of the lakes. We may have the best fishery out of all of them in Ontario but that's just a portion of what they looked at- whether or not the overall health of Ontario is better than Superior (for ex.) I have no idea but the work presented here seems to suggest Superior has the edge, at least in terms of "stressors" or potential problems.

In addition to being last in the chain Ontario (and Erie) are the warmest of the Great Lakes which increases their productivity in general. They also have a higher population surrounding them which leads more of the runoff etc talked about in the article. The problem is that too much productivity is a bad thing. You may have the best two years of fishing in your life right before the whole fishery crashes to nothing. No way do we need more agricultural runoff in there. Identifying and managing these stressors when possible would go a long way toward helping the lakes.

I'd argue that "fisheries management" is a reactive strategy that aims to help keep the lakes in balance. We don't always get it right but given that the ecosystem is no longer natural or native there isn't much of a choice but to try to manage it. It seems they're defining a stressor as anything that unnaturally affects the lake, good or bad.

Here's the list:

Great Lakes stressors were divided into seven categories:

Aquatic habitat alterations: Changes to aquatic habitat from diverse causes, such as shoreline hardening and erosion control structures, port and marina development, and tributary dams

Climate change: Changes to seasonal, average, and extreme temperature, precipitation, and ice cover

Coastal development: Land-based human development near lake margins, such as residential and commercial development and industrial activities

Fisheries management: Changes to Great Lakes ecosystems resulting from fishing pressure, stocking activities, and aquaculture

Invasive species: Changes to Great Lakes ecosystems from invasive and nuisance species in abundances not previously seen

Nonpoint source pollution: Nutrients, sediments, and waterborne contaminants transported from watersheds to the Great Lakes by streams and rivers and atmospheric deposition

Toxic chemical pollution: Chemical pollutants from industrial and agricultural sources


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I can't say this enough to people that may be confused on the pacific salmon stocking. It is a key part of the equation for native species restoration, and water quality, and will have to stay a part of the equation for a very long time into the future. Without this program, everything that has been gained with salmon in our lake will be lost. Alewives are just as hard as any other non-native species to erraticate.

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