Last Thursday, myself and County Zoo Director Larry Sorel witnessed 10,000 hatchery-reared lake herring (also known as ciscoes) being released into their historic spawning ground, Irondequoit Bay!
Research surveys performed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science in Cortland, NY recently confirmed that the lake herring had disappeared over the past 50 years from Irondequoit Bay and much of Lake Ontario due to overfishing, pollution and invasive species.
Through collaborative efforts between the USGS, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Fishery Commission and The Nature Conservancy, the one-year-old fish, raised from eggs collected in Chaumont Bay, were released from a USGS fish transport truck through a hose at the Newport Yacht Club docks. The Irondequoit Bay habitat and water quality have improved to well position the repatriated lake herring for success!
– Dr. Jeff Wyatt, head Zoo veterinarian and Director of Animal Health and Conservation