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Gill-T

Alewife numbers research

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It is my understanding that a lot of the western LO cormorants showed up right around the same time that the fishery collapsed on Lake Huron.  It is not a great distance from the Georgian Bay to LO "as the crow flies."    These birds did not build in numbers gradually, they showed up as good size flocks off Snyder's Island in Irondequoit Bay, out in Braddocks, and along the Monroe County LO shoreline feeding on nearshore baitfish in late summer one year,( and possibly at locations further west, but I was not out there)  and then were back in numbers every summer since.  They have only started nesting recently. I spoke with Web Persall (Region 8 Fisheries Manager) about control on IBay soon after they arrived, and while he sympathized with our concerns for water and shoreline vegetation quality, and the damages caused to docked boats ,especially at the Fish and Game Club, he said his hands were tied until it could be documented that the birds were nesting locally, and the DEC people who were looking for that had found no indications.

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The rise of cormorants coincided with the rise of the goby. Gobies are easier to catch and are easier to reach- depth wise. 

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The Eastern Basin numbers had grown exponentially before the gobies were established , and the DEC research on "pellets" indicated they were putting a dent in the yellow perch and smallmouth bass numbers up there, from Mexico Bay north and up into the SLR.  At this time their diet is dominated by gobies, but it was the damage to the warm water fishery that persuaded USF+WS to allow DEC to start control measures up there.

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